Statement of Faith
STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Forgiven Christian Community
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
The Forgiven Christian Community adheres to the ancient statements of faith - the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Chalcedonian Creed - and affirms the historic Christian faith as expressed in the five solas of the Reformation, and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 – and affirms the contemporary expression of biblical inerrancy as expressed in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, 1978.
The ultimate authority in all matters of Christian faith, order, and morals is the Bible alone, which the London Baptist Confession and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy clearly state. We subscribe to these creeds and confessions not as inspired documents nor as laws to bind our consciences, but as man-made guides in articulating historic and contemporary Christian theology, and as a standard in setting doctrinal controversies and examining prospective church leaders.
This is what we believe, and on this we step out in faith to proclaim: mainly, the central message of the New Covenant - to the regenerate and the unregenerate – to repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and to gain life everlasting. On this we stand firm, that our salvation granted us through Jesus Christ incarnate, crucified, dead and buried, risen from the grave victoriously over eternal death and the power of Satan - is the glorified Son of God.
Believing that God calls His people into communities of faith to advance His earthly kingdom, we then, as members of the body of Christ, locally called, the Forgiven Christian Community, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, set forth and affirm this Statement of Faith. This is the foundation of what we believe. To God be the glory for all that grows from this bedrock of our faith.
So, this we affirm . . .
God as The Holy Trinity
We believe that there is one living and true God, self-existent and self-sustaining, eternally existing as one in essence or nature, yet in three persons, each equally deserving worship; that the essence of the Trinity is equal in every divine perfection, and that the Trinity accomplishes distinct, but harmonious offices, in the work of creation, providence and redemption.
We believe the Triune God is unchanging in His attributes and that His ways and judgments are infinitely perfect, above our understanding and beyond our human inquiry.
We believe God is perfectly righteous, true in His word, all powerful, all present, all loving, all divine and all knowing.
We believe God’s knowledge of past, present, and future events is complete and absolute, and incomprehensible to the human mind.
We also believe God’s essence or substance is spiritual, yet to be revealed to humanity in His fullest form at the second coming of Jesus.
We further believe God is eternal and that He created all things that exist in His creation out of nothing simply by the Word of His power.
Finally, we believe that all of God’s creation, the universe, and including humanity, came to exist in a fully developed state as a result of His creative act in six literal days, not by any other process possesed by the ever-changing scientific community.
Genesis 1-2, 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalms 11:7, 139:7-9; Isaiah 42:5, 44:7, 46:10, 55:9-11; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; John 4:24, 5:23, 9:38, 10:30, 14:16; Acts 5:3-5; Romans 3:4, 11:33-35; 1Peter 1:15-16; I John 4:7-8; James 1:17; Revelation 19:6
God the Father
We believe God the Father, as the first person of the Trinity, as Creator is Father to all of humanity yet is the spiritual Father of only believers.
He is sovereign over creation, providence, and salvation.
He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass and providentially directs all creatures and events.
He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ and adopts them as His own, becoming their eternal Father.
God the Son Jesus Christ
We believe Jesus Christ is eternal, having no beginning, being fully God, equal to the Father, the second person of the Trinity.
We believe that at the incarnation Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence. He joined to His divine person all the essential elements of humanity to be fully human, while not diminishing or losing any of His divine attributes. In relation to God the Father He is the only begotten Son
We believe in His virgin birth; His human nature being miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, His sinless life, His miracles and teachings.
We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His perpetual intercession for His people, His return for His Church, and His personal visible return to the earth at which time He will set up His kingdom.
Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:18-25, 24:3- 25:46; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, John 1:14; John 5:19, 22, John 8:58, John 8:58; 13:3; John 14:1-3, 9, 17:5, John 20:30-31; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 1:4, 3:24-25, 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews Hebrews 4:15, 7:25, 9:24; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 1 John 3:5; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-6
God the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity, possessing all the attributes and nature of God including omniscience, omnipresence, and eternality.
He is co-equal one with the Father and Son, He was sent from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, seal, and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Chris and that He is the believer’s abiding helper, teacher, and guide. He sovereignly bestows spiritual gifts on Christians which are given for the purpose of building up the body of Christ.
The Holy Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, is the Word of God fully inspired in every word and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe the Bible, when regularly studied and believed, is to the believer, credited to righteous obedience to the glory of God. Scripture is sufficient to provide all the wisdom necessary to live a godly life.
We believe the Bible to be the Word of God, infallible, absolutely accurate, and profitable for teaching and correction in all aspects of Christian living.
We also believe that Scripture interprets Scripture through the perfect divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
We further believe the Scriptures should be interpreted in their literal, grammatical-historical context, and that the Bible is complete in its canonized form, revealed to us through holy men and women of God who spoke by the Holy Spirit. God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen not to add any additional revelation to it, and the Bible in its current, canonized form is the Word of God.
Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Psalm 18:30, 119:9, 105, 130; Proverbs 2:6; Isaiah 34:16, 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16, 36:1-32; Matthew 4:4, 7:24, 24:35; Luke 11:28; John 1:1, 7:38, 17:17; Romans 15:4, 16:25-26; Philippians 2:14-16; Hebrews 1:1-2, 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:22; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:2-4, 19-21
The Natural Condition of Humanity
We believe Adam was directly and immediately created by God so that he would glorify God, enjoy fellowship with Him and live His life in fulfilling God’s will.
We believe Adam’s sin of disobedience resulted in Adam and all his descendant’s physical and spiritual death and their becoming sinners by nature and by choice.
Humanity is inherently sinful in nature (original sin), and estranged from God even before birth, and is subject to the just wrath of God.
Because of this sinful condition, humanity is inherently corrupt, and utterly incapable of choosing or doing, apart from God’s grace, that which is acceptable to God.
Humanity, therefore, cannot be saved from sin and its consequences and is hopelessly lost.
Humanity, because of sinful bias against God, does not desire and therefore would never choose God nor believe in His Son unless God, in His sovereign mercy intervened.
Humanity, due to a sinful heart, is spiritually dead and, therefore, apart from God’s grace, unwilling and unable to respond to the gospel.
Humanity, does not desire nor welcome the truth of God’s Word and is, by nature, rebellious and antagonistic to God’s rule, blind to God’s glory, futile and darkened in understanding because of a natural refusal to honor and submit to God.
Humanity, loves sin and will not give it up nor relinquish control of life to God, is threatened by and hates the true Christ and His Word, and is spiritually at war with God and is counted by God as an enemy.
Humanity’s salvation, therefore, is completely of God’s grace through the redemption that is provided by Christ’s death on the cross.
Psalms 51:7; Isaiah 43:7; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:19-21, 6:44, 6:45, 8:37-47, 15:18-21; Romans 1:20-32, Romans 2:5-6, Romans 3:9-18, 3:9-18, 3:23-24, Romans 5:6-8, 5:11-12, 6:23, 8:6-8; Ephesians 1:7, 2:1-3, 2:1-22; Ephesians 4:17-19; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:16, 1:21-22, 3:9-11; James 4:4; Revelation 4:11,21:3-4, 22:3-5
God’s Plan of Salvation
We believe that salvation is accomplished wholly by God based on the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ, whose death provided for us redemption. Jesus Christ’s death completely and once for all provided substitutionary payment for our sins. His death alone satisfies forever the holy justice of God toward believing sinners. It is on the basis of grace alone through faith in Christ that we are saved. We believe God saves any sinner who calls upon Him in faith: believing Jesus alone is Lord and that He alone has paid the penalty for their sins by dying on the cross and rising again for them. This faith inherently involves repentance (turning from sin) and submission to Christ alone 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 Savior.
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.
We believe that God chose before the foundation of the world, and apart from any foreseen worthiness, or initiative on the sinner’s part, those whom He would save.
We believe His sovereign election does not in any way contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ nor in any way diminish the urgency to evangelize all peoples.
We believe that God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, though incomprehensible to us, are perfectly compatible in the infinite wisdom and goodness of God. We believe that justification before God is an act of God by which He declares a believing sinner to be perfectly and eternally righteous before Him based upon the righteousness of Christ credited to the sinner, not any work or virtue of man. We believe that one who trusts in Christ for salvation can never lose their salvation. This is because of the righteousness of Christ credited to him, the faithfulness of God to keep him, the power of God to preserve him, the sovereignty of God in saving him, and the unconditional love of Christ for him.
We believe that all those who are saved will manifest it by a life of increasingly turning from sin to obedience to Christ. Salvation occurs at the moment the sinner first repents and believes in Christ; it is evidenced by ongoing faith and repentance toward Christ. Those claiming salvation but living an unrepentant, disobedient life may have a false assurance of salvation and are warned to examine themselves.
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, 10:28-29, 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 ff, 5:8-10, 6:1-23, 8:1-18, 8:29-39, 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 ff; 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 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.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31 ff; 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, 6:65, 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
Proclaiming the Gospel - Evangelism and Missions
We believe the gospel must be proclaimed to all people and all that hear must be called to repentance and faith in Christ as their only means of salvation. We must plead, with the compassion and persuasiveness of Christ Himself, for all peoples to respond to the gospel and receive Christ alone as their Lord and Savior. We believe the church must proclaim the gospel message fully without deletions, additions, hesitancy or deceit as modeled by the Apostles. We believe God’s sovereignty does not diminish our responsibility to believe nor lessen our guilt and accountability for sin and rejection of Him.
God not only reveals His sovereign grace as the source of salvation; He just as clearly reveals human responsibility in believing for salvation.
God does not believe for us.
We believe and repent; yet it is not our wisdom, efforts, arguments, cleverness or methods that awaken a sinner’s heart to faith and repentance, but God’s wonderful sovereign grace. God’s sovereignty does not diminish our responsibility to evangelize all nations. The Great Commission is a mandate and not an option for Christians.
We must passionately proclaim the gospel to all people and make disciples of Christ locally and globally, having the confidence that we will be used by our great Shepherd, Jesus, to bring to Himself all His sheep. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
True faith and repentance are the result of the work of God in a person’s heart. All our efforts are futile without the regenerating work of God’s Spirit. Our methods cannot bring conversion. Our works cannot earn salvation.
The human means that God has chosen to use in evangelism is His people proclaiming the gospel and godly living. Therefore, we are committed to earnest prayer, Christ-like living, and gospel proclamation as our priorities in evangelism.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38, 10:5-15, 13:18-30, 37-43, 16:19, 22:9-10, 24:14, 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18, 24:46-53; John 1:12-13, 3:16, 10:9,16, 13:34, 14:6, 11-12, 63, 15:7-8, 16, 8:24, 17:15, 20:21; Acts 1:8; chapter 2, 4:12, 5:17-21, 8:26-40, 10:42-48, 13:2-3; Romans 1:16, 10:1, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5, 3:12-26, 15:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; Galatians 1:9-11; Ephesians 2:1-9, 3:1-11; Philippians 3:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5, 2:25-26; Titus 3:3-5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; James 5:17; 1 Peter 2:4-10, 3:15-17; Revelation 22:17
Sanctification – Living for the Glory of God
Sanctification is the ongoing process of yielding to God's Word and His Spirit to complete the development of Christ's character in us. It is through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
Sanctification consists of two distinct aspects: The first aspect of salvation is accomplished when a believer stands before God and the righteousness of God is credited at the moment of belief.
Sanctification is also the process of God conforming us to the image of His Son, becoming more holy (set apart from sin). This second aspect of sanctification is accomplished through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit of God, and the people of God - the local church.
Through obedience to the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit the believer can live a life of increasing holiness.
The motivation for living an obedient, holy life is not to earn salvation but out of thankfulness for God’s grace in granting salvation and out of reverence and awe of God’s worthiness. It is also for the joy of knowing, glorifying and being rewarded by God.
We believe that all Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and that they should live for the glory of God.
Romans 3:24, 4:4-5, 8:29, 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:31; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:10, 14-15, 6:14-18; Galatians 5:16-24; Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14, 4:13, 4:22-24, 5:18; Philippians 3:7-14; Colossians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; Hebrews 2:11, 10:14; Revelation 5:9
The Body of Christ and the Restoration of Israel
A New Testament Christian church is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, free from external authority or control, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two sacraments 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 all nations, to the ends of the earth.
Forgiven Christian Community operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. As such each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are the pastor, elders, and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the offices of pastor and elder are limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The deaconate is comprised of both men and women.
The church is the body of Christ. Its existence, life and purpose are found in Jesus Christ. It is comprised of all born-again believers - repentant, forgiven, and baptized - saved through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The church began on the day of Pentecost with the disciples and will be completed when Christ returns a second time in all His glory.
All who are part of the church partake of Christ’s life and are under His authority as their Head. They are all inhabited by Him and are the channel through which He manifests His life on the earth.
Like a branch cut off from a tree, the church has absolutely no power or life within the institution of the church itself, but is filled with power and only fruitful to the extent that the church is grafted back into an abiding relationship with Christ, who then manifests His life through the actions of the local church. We believe the purpose of the church is to glorify God by reflecting the love of Christ, and by making disciples through evangelizing non-believers and teaching them they are saved through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe the local church carries on evangelism primarily as members, equipped and edified, proclaim Christ in word and deeds of love. The ministries of the local church are primarily for the purpose of corporate worship, teaching and equipping, hearing the word of God proclaimed and participating in God-pleasing music, all to build up the worshipers to participate in the work of the church. We believe the universal church is manifested through local churches and that Christians are to commit themselves together in our local church, to be governed by spiritually qualified men called elders.
Elders are responsible, through the ministry of the Word, to lead, feed, spiritually guide, protect, and shepherd the congregation in relationship with God to increase spiritual maturity and obedience to the Lord.
The ministries of the pastor, teachers and the diaconates are to equip the congregation in the ministry of building up the body of Christ.
We believe God accomplishes His plan on earth through the church as each member of the body of Christ uses their spiritual gifts to serve the local and global communities.
We believe all Christians have equal access and spiritual privileges to approach God in prayer through Jesus Christ.
Concerning the body of Christ and the restoration of Israel, the relationship between Israel and the church in the New Testament is not always easy to discern, but it can be best understood if we remember the differences between national Israel and true Israel in both the Old and New Testaments, and if we keep in mind what Paul teaches in Romans 11.
Paul mentions three events in Romans 11:11–12: the trespass (or “failure”) of Israel, the salvation of the Gentiles, and the full inclusion of Israel. The first of these leads to the second, and the second leads to the third. Israel’s trespass, in other words, started a process that will ultimately lead back to Israel’s restoration. This is the first of five places in Romans 11 where Paul explains the purpose and future of Israel in terms of three stages:
vv. 11–12: “trespass of Israel” -- “salvation for the Gentiles” --“their fullness”
v. 15: “their rejection” -- “reconciliation of the world” -- “their acceptance”
vv. 17–23: “natural branches broken off” -- “wild shoots grafted in” -- “natural branches” grafted back in
vv. 25–26: “hardening of Israel” -- “fullness of Gentiles” -- “all Israel will be saved”
vv. 30–31: disobedience of Israel -- mercy for Gentiles -- mercy to Israel
The occurrence of these reinforces the idea that Paul is looking forward to a future restoration of Israel. Israel’s present condition in Paul’s era is described as “failure” and as “rejection.”
Paul characterizes the future condition of Israel in terms of “full inclusion” and as “acceptance.” Israel is not simultaneously in the condition of “failure” and “full inclusion,” and of “rejection” and “acceptance.”
The “full inclusion” will follow the “failure.” The “acceptance” will follow the “rejection.”
Israel’s present hardening has a purpose in God’s plan, but this hardening is not permanent. The future restoration of the nation of Israel will involve their re-grafting into the olive tree, present with the bride of Christ, the church, all as one people of God. The restoration of Israel will mean their becoming part of the “true Israel” by faith in Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Numbers 13:30; Deuteronomy 7:1-2; 2 Kings 17:5-17; Psalm 50:22; Isaiah 55:1-3; Jeremiah 3:1-5; Jeremiah 30:8-11; Amos 3:1-3; Matthew 16:15-19, 18:15-20, 28:18-20; John 1:11-13, 13:34-35, 15:1-8; Acts 2:41-42,47, 5:11-14, 6:3-6, 13:1-3, 14:23,27, 15:1-30, 16:5, 20:28-31; Romans 1:7, 11; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14, 10:31-32, 12; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:11-3:6, 8-11, 21, 4:11-12, 15-16, 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1, 2:25-26; Colossians 1:18, 2:19; 3:4; 1 Timothy 1:5, 2:9-14, 3:1-15, 4:14; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 4:14-16, 10:25, 11:39-40, 13:17; 1 Peter 2:8-9, 4:10-11, 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3
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.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians are in spiritual debt to the whole world, a holy trustee in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions.
Therefore, Christians are under obligation to serve God with their time, talents, and material possessions.
And, they should recognize their time, talents, and material possessions all are 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 Christ’s cause on earth.
Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19
We believe there are two kinds of spiritual gifts given to the church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of receiving and confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message; and ministering gifts, given to equip and edify one another in the present-day body of Christ.
When the apostolic era ended and the New Testament revelation was complete, Scripture became the sole test of confirming ministering gifts.
Though the gifts of healing and miracles are no longer evidenced in individuals today, God in His sovereignty does hear and answer the prayer of the faithful in accordance with His own will.
The Sacraments - Baptism and the Lord's Supper
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has commended two sacraments to the local church – baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that Christian baptism is the covenant of God with an age of accountability for immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Triune God.
Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Christ and not a condition for salvation.
Baptism is a picture or union with Christ and a public identification with Christ as Lord and with local believers. Baptism is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death and is only for believers and to be preceded by self-examination and repentance.
We believe that baptism should be observed as needed and that the Lord’s Supper should be administered frequently to the congregation as a means of grace and forgiveness of sin.
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.
Exodus 17:12, 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4, 2:68-69, 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15, 20:1-16, 22:1-10, 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14, 2:1ff., 4:31-37, 13:2-3, 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18
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 under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.
To promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with everyone 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.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12, 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48, 22:36-40, 25:35; Mark 1:29-34, 2:3ff., 10:21; Luke 4:18-21, 10:27-37, 20:25; John 15:12, 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10, 6:1-7, 7:20-2, 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8
Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ we should do all in our power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the waring 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.
Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48, 6:33, 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19, 13:1-7, 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2
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 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, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24, 16:26, 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2, 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17, 3:11-17, 4:12-19
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.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7
Angels and Satan
We believe angels are spirit beings created by God to serve Him and His creation, and that they are not themselves to be worshiped or venerated in any way.
Satan is a created angel and of his own will brought sin into God’s perfect creation. Satan, the evil one, incurred God’s judgment by rebelling against God and taking numerous angels with him in his defiance of God’s perfect will.
Satan is the enemy of God and has the world under his influence and deception.
Satan and his deceptive powers were defeated through the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
We believe that even though His physical body lay in the tomb, in His God-ordained power Jesus descended into hell and took away Satan’s power over eternal death and the torment of hell for the believer.
Satan was further defeated when Jesus ascended into heaven to be at the right hand of God reigning supremely, again.
The Book of Revelation is clear that Satan and all unbelievers will be eternally punished in the lake of fire.
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 we enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and 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.
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
Last Things We believe that at the moment of death the believer’s soul immediately passes into the presence of the Lord. The body of the believer will be raised when Christ returns for His church.
We believe the “blessed hope” of the church is to be gathered into a great cloud of witnesses at the coming of Jesus, descending to earth to gather His believers, both living and dead.
We believe there will be a seven-year tribulation period of divine judgments on the earth prior to Christ’s personal, bodily, physical return to earth to set up His kingdom
We believe this kingdom on earth will include fulfilling God’s promises to Israel in regenerating a believing remnant, restoring their land and their nation.
We believe there will be a bodily resurrection of all people: the saved unto eternal life and the unsaved to judgment and eternal punishment in hell through the separation from God’s eternal love.
Jeremiah 31:31-37; Ezekiel 36:16-28, 37:11-14, 37:21-28; Daniel 9:25-27, 12:2; Matthew 24:15-31, 25:41; John 5:39, 6:39; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:19-23; Philippians 1:23; ; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 2:7-12; Titus 2:13; Revelation 6-16, 20:1-5, 20:11-15, 19:11-20:6