What We Believe
We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended to the dead; the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; and He will come again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit; one holy church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.
We recognize the inerrant authority of the 66 canonized books of Holy Scripture, and acknowledge dependence upon the Holy Spirit for their accurate interpretation and application. We hold the Word of God (Logos) as the supreme authority in matters of faith and conduct.
Jesus Christ is the Word (Logos) of God. He was with God in the beginning, and He pre-existed as one with God. “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth” (Col. 1:16). Jesus Christ is the Purpose of God found in all of creation. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. In the beginning, it was the ultimate purpose of God for all things to be summed up in Christ (Eph. 1:10).
Jesus Christ pre-existed with God and as God (John 1:1). He emptied Himself to become fully a man that He might be the expiatory sacrifice to deliver mankind from sinfulness. Because the first man, Adam, transgressed the command of God, the process of death entered him and all of his descendants and mankind lost fellowship with God. Mankind was incapable of reversing this course of self-destruction. All men became alienated from God in their minds because of their evil behavior (Col. 1:21). But God is love and was never man’s enemy — planning from the foundation of the world to redeem humanity in the finished work of the Son. Through Christ’s sacrifice made on the cross, all of sinful humanity died with him (2 Cor. 5:14, Rom. 6:6, Heb. 2:9). From God’s perspective, humanity is now forgiven, cleansed and reconciled to God. We the “Church” are those who now actively partake in this forgiveness and remission of sins, living in fellowship with God, thanks to the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
“There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). There is only one avenue of fellowship with God, which is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the covenental relationship between God and man.
The resurrection of Jesus’ physical body after His crucifixion was literal, as will be the resurrection of all mankind. We believe in a literal return, a second coming of Christ.
We believe in a loving Father, manifest through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. The death of Christ was required to save us from sin and death, not from a vengeful father. The Father did not need to be conditioned to love mankind or to be gracious to man. God is only capable of love. Even His wrath is an extension of His love, opposing every obstacle to love. The death of Christ was not appeasing an angry Father. The Son came not to purchase the Father’s love for the world, but as an expression of His love for the world. The cross was to change humanity; the Father did not require changing. The Father was not forsaking the Son on the cross, but Christ was experiencing humanity’s blindness to the Father’s love on the cross — fully empathizing with the human condition and destroying man’s alienation and depravity in His own servant body. The Father did not turn His back on the Son nor to anyone. The Father was in Christ, reconciling the cosmos to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). To see Jesus is to see the full expression of the love of the entire Trinity. Jesus is a perfect representation of the Father’s love. We believe that our Father has always been for all of mankind and that His desire is that none would perish.
We believe in a continual infilling (baptism, immersion, outpouring) of the Spirit and the accompanying gifts, power to witness, graces and fruit of the Spirit. We accept, acknowledge and encourage all of the biblical gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit as present and vital for the church to accomplish her full purpose today. We believe Holy Spirit reveals Jesus. The Spirit does not come in response to man’s efforts or requests, but has come to us completely through the finished work of the cross. By our union with Christ, we have received the fullness of His Spirit, despite man’s lack of awareness or experience of that (Col. 2:10).
We believe that physical, emotional and spiritual healing are all available through the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross revealed by the power of Holy Spirit. We believe in the present-day operation of the miraculous in the church today and that supernatural Christianity is normative Christianity. We believe that the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power (1 Cor.4:20). We believe in the person of Holy Spirit, worthy of worship in equal stature with Father and Son in the Godhead, yet never separate. He is our intimate bond of love, not a mere tool of empowerment.
God is three persons, inseparable yet distinct. The doctrine of the Trinity means means God is not alone. Within the being of God is a relationship — three persons in a mutual union of love without loss of personal distinction. Anything less than “one” negates the depth and closeness of their communion. The Father does not become the Son or Spirit and the Son and Spirit do not become one another or the Father. It is a relationship of oneness, but not of absorption.
Faith and Works
True faith is of the heart and not just the mind (Romans 10:10). Mankind is saved by grace – the free gift of God. Man cannot generate faith; it is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). More precisely, we are saved not by our own faith but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We believe all Christians are called into a life of separation from sinful practices, and that they should promote righteousness and godliness. Good works and godly practices are a fruit of true faith, and all men are called to a holy lifestyle. However, good works and practices have no bearing on our acceptance, standing or approval with God, all of which were accomplished by the cross of Jesus Christ alone. Our chief and ultimate end is “faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6).
We acknowledge the ordinances of water baptism and of the Lord’s Supper, however, neither are for the purpose of remission of sins. Water baptism is a visible representation of our death, burial and resurrection with Christ. The Lord’s Supper is a means of fellowship with the real presence of Christ. Both of these ordinances are expressions of grace offered to the church, in that they reflect Christ’s person and work. But the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ is the sole source of the remission of sins and outpouring of grace.
We acknowledge the sacrament of marriage as being a holy union between one man and one woman.
We acknowledge the sacrament of ordination into ministry as being a means of grace by the endowment of power through the laying on of hands. However, this is eclipsed by the greater truth that all believers are a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).
The chief purpose of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. We believe God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The kingdom priority of our lives is to walk in intimate communion with His presence.
We recognize that our knowledge and understanding of the Lord is limited, and our goal is to grow into a fuller recognition of Him (1 Cor. 13:12). We recognize that God is still restoring truth to His church, and therefore, we place no limit on further revelation. However, all revelation must be substantiated according to the Scriptures. We believe that all truth is ultimately summed up in the person and work of Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God, and to see Him clearly, we must see the Christ of the scriptures.
We recognize our interdependence upon the entire mystical body of Christ, of which we are only a small part; and we acknowledge that we are incomplete without unity.
We seek to promote sound doctrine, but recognize that division is not God’s preferred alternative to adversity or doctrinal dispute. We choose to extend liberty in all “non-essential” doctrinal matters.