THE SCRIPTURES

The Holy Bible is God’s Word written. As such, the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are redemptive revelation. The Bible contains sixty-six books, written by a variety of Holy Spirit-inspired authors in a variety of historical-cultural contexts and spans an approximate period of 1,500 years. The Bible has God for its ultimate author, salvation for its end, and truth for its matters. All Scripture is trustworthy, authoritative, and sufficient for all matters of faith and conduct. 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. Most importantly, all Scriptures is a testimony to Christ Jesus, who is himself the focus of divine revelation and redemption.

References: Exodus 24:4, Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19, Joshua 8:34, Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11, 89, 105, 140, Isaiah 34:16; 40:8, Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32, Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29, Luke 21:33; 24:44-46, John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17, Acts 2:16; 17:11, Romans 15:4; 16:25-26, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12, 1 Peter 1:25, 2 Peter 1:19-21

THE GODHEAD

We worship the one Triune God, who 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 God we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. God reveals himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with distinct personal attributes, but without division of essence, nature, 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 purpose 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 attitude toward all humanity.

References: Genesis 1:1; 2:7, Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11; 20:1, Leviticus 22:2, Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6, 1 Chronicles 29:10, Psalm 19:1-3, Isaiah 43:3, 15; 64:8, Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13, Matthew 6:9; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19, Mark 1:9-11, John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8, Acts 1:7, Romans 8:14-15, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 4:6, Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 11:6; 12:9, 1 Peter 1:17, 1 John 5:7

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 fulfilled the will of God, taking upon himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying himself completely with humanity  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 people 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 human, in whose person is effected the reconciliation between God and human beings. 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.

References: Genesis 18:1, Psalms 2:7; 110:1, Isaiah 7:14, 53, Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:37; 14:33; 16:16, 27; 17:5, 27; 28:1-6, 19, Mark 1:1; 3:11, Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46, John 1:1-18, 29; 10:30, 38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16, 28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20, 28, Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5:20, Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3, 34; 10:4, 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8, 24-28, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9, Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16, Titus 2:13-14, Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15, 24-28; 12:2; 3:8, 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22, 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9, 2 John 7-9, Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16

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 people to understand truth. He exalts Christ Jesus. He convicts people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls people to the Savior, 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 in to the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

References: Genesis 1:2, Judges 14:6, Job 26:13, Psalms 51:11; 139:7 ,Isaiah 61:1-3, Joel 2:28-32, Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19, Mark 1:10, 12, Luke 1:35; 4:1, 18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49, John 4:24; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14, Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17, 39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6, Romans 8:9-11, 14-16, 26-27, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11, 13, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:19, 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1, 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16, Hebrews 9:8, 14, 2 Peter 1:21, 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7, Revelation 1:10; 22:17

HUMANITY

Humanity is the special creation of God, made in his own image. He created persons 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 humanity was innocent of sin and was endowed by God 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 fallen humanity into his holy fellowship and enable them 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 humanity; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

References: Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5, 7, 18-22; 3; 9:6, Psalm 1: 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5, Isaiah 6:5, Jeremiah 17:5, Matthew 16:26, Acts 17:26-31, Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6, 12, 19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18, 29, 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19, 21-22, Ephesians 2:1-22, Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11

THE CHURCH

The New Testament speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ, which is the company of the redeemed consisting of believers from all historical and cultural contexts. The Church is represented locally by autonomous congregations of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. We observe the two ordinances of Christ (Baptism and Holy Communion) and are governed by his Word, and seek to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each local church operates under the Lordship of Christ. In such a church each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are elders and deacons.

References: Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20, Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23, 27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28, Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12, Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11, 21; 5:22-32, Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:18, 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14, Hebrews 11:39-40, 1 Peter 5:1-4,Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3

BAPTISM AND HOLY COMMUNION

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 believers faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, 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.

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

References: Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20, Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26, Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20, John 3:23, Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7, Romans 6:3-5, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29, Colossians 2:12

SALVATION

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole person, and is offered freely to all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by his life, death, and resurrection 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

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 and Faith

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the confession of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to him as Lord and Savior.

Justification

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

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 indwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

Glorification

Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

References: Genesis 3:15, Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8, Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6, Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32, John 1:11-14, 29; 3:3-21, 36; 5:24; 10:9, 28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17, Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32, Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18, 29-39; 10:9-10, 13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-30; 6:19-20; 15:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15, Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16, Philippians 2:12-13, Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Timothy 1:12, Titus 2:11-14, Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8, 14, James 2:14-26, 1 Peter 1:2-23, 1 John 1:6-2:11, Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5

GOD'S PURPOSE AND 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 persons, 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.

References: Genesis 12:1-3, Exodus 19:5-8, 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 19-22, Isaiah 5:1-7, Jeremiah 31:31, Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22, 31; 25:34, Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48, John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45, 65; 10;27-29; 15:16; 17:6, 12, 17-18, Acts 20:32, Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7, 26-36, 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28, Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11, Colossians 1:12-14, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10, 19, Hebrews 11:39-12:2, James 1:12, 1 Peter 1:2-5, 13; 2:4-10, 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The Kingdom of God includes both his general sovereignty over the universe and his particular kingship of people who acknowledge him as king. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which people 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.

References: Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 9:6-7;, Jeremiah 23:5-6;, Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29, Mark 1:14-15; 9:1, Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42, John 3:3; 18:36, Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31, Romans 5:17; 8:19, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, Colossians 1:13, Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28;, 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13, Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22