CHRIST and SCRIPTURE
The ultimate source of Christian authority is Jesus Christ the Lord. His lordship springs from His eternal deity and power as the anointed Son of the sovereign God and from His victorious redemption and resurrection. The Bible is our authoritative rule of faith and practice, it is the inspired revelation of God’s will and way, made full and complete in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
There is one and only one living and true God. 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. We believe in God as absolute and sole Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and that creation was by divine command, from nothing and not through an evolutionary process. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections.
God is all powerful and all knowing; His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. He is worthy of our love, reverence, obedience, and worship. We believe that God, by His sovereign choice and out of love for mankind, came incarnate as Christ the Son into the world to save sinners.
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, all wise, and ever present. 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 mankind.
GOD the SON
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In God’s incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus was 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 God’s divine will by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of mankind from sin. He was bodily raised from the dead and appeared to His disciples being 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 mankind. He is the head of the body of believers, the church. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to fulfill His redemptive mission.
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 mankind to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts mankind of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls mankind to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration, He baptizes and seals all believers unto the day of final redemption; filling them in response to yieldedness with the goal of conforming them to the image of Christ. 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.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, is inerrant in the original manuscripts, and is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction and is eternal. 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.
Mankind 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 God’s creation and to the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby the human race inherited a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Only the grace of God can bring mankind into holy fellowship with God and enable mankind to fulfill the creative purpose of God. Mankind is created to exist forever and will either exist eternally separated from God because of sin, or eternally present with God through salvation.
Salvation provides redemption for all mankind, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for mankind. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. In its broadest sense salvation includes justification, regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. Once saved the believer is secure in Christ forever.
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 word, exercising the gifts and rights 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, and employs 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 redeemed believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances of the church. They are symbolic, but their observance involves faith, self-examination, confession, discernment, gratitude, dedication, fellowship, and worship.
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 the believer’s faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, baptism is prerequisite to the privilege of church membership unless prevented by health conditions, and recommended prior to receiving the Lord’s Supper.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby baptized members of the body of Christ, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death, burial, and resurrection of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. Baptism is recommended prior to receiving the Lord’s Supper unless health conditions prohibit baptism.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER
We affirm the priesthood of all believers. Laypersons have the same privilege as ordained ministers to communicate with God, interpret Scripture, and minister in Christ’s name. There is but one mediator of God and humanity, Jesus Christ our Lord. The priesthood of the believers therefore means that all believers serve as equal under God; however our priesthood does not diminish Scripture as the supreme source of Christian authority. Scripture serves as the guide and establishes boundaries for all interpretation in matters of theology, doctrine, practice, and faith.
THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY
The family is God’s basic unit in society. The building of enduring Christian families should be of primary concern for all believers in Christ. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The union between Christ and His church is the model for God’s unique gift of marriage. Marriage provides for the man and the woman the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for 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. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual. All that we have and are we owe to Him. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute their time, talents, and material possessions cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of Christ’s cause on earth. We believe in tithing for the support of Christ’s body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of one’s income is the biblical standard of tithing. Offerings for special ministry opportunities are funds given in excess of the tithe.
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 mankind 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.
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