What We Believe
WHAT WE BELIEVE – STATEMENT OF FAITH
SCRIPTURE – We believe the Scriptures to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God. They are revelation from God to man, the infallible rule of faith and conduct. [II Tim. 3:16; I Peter 2:2.]
THE NATURE OF GOD – We believe in one God, eternal and self existent, self-revealed and manifested to man as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. [Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Isa. 43:10-11; Matt. 28:19.] We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin, Mary. [John 1:1,14; Mat. 1:18; Luke 1:26-27; Luke 2:7; I Tim. 2:5.] We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed his blood as a sacrifice for our sins; He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. [I Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:11-14; I Cor. 15:3-8; Acts 2:32-36; Heb. 10:12.] We believe in the personal, literal second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judge both the quick and the dead. [I Thess. 4:16; Heb 9:27; I Cor. 15:51-52; Rev. 20:11-15; Acts 24:15.] We believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ, to convict men of sin, righteousness and judgment and to empower the believer. [John 15:26; John 16:8, 14; Acts 1:8.]
GOD’S RELATION TO MAN – We believe that man was created in the image of God, but fell into sin. [Gen. 1:26-31; Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 5:12-21.] We believe that man can be justified only by grace through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. [Eph. 4:11-12; Rom. 3:24-28.] We believe that water baptism identifies us with the death and burial of Christ, and that we should arise to walk in newness of life. [Rom. 6:3-9; I Pet. 3:21.] We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead. [Acts 24:15; I Cor. 15:35-44; Rev. 20:11-15.] We believe in everlasting blessedness for the believer, with judgment and everlasting punishment for the unbeliever. [Mat. 7:21-23; Rev. 20:11-15; John 5:29.]
THE CHURCH – We believe that the true Church is composed of such persons who, through saving faith in Jesus Christ, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. [I Pet. 2:4-5; Eph. 2:19-22.] We believe that Christ wants the members of His Church to carry the Gospel into all the world. [Mat. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8.] We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is God’s instrument to establish and extend God’s Kingdom until the literal coming of Christ to reign over all the earth. [Rev. 11:15.] We believe in the autonomy of each local church and that itinerant ministries should be based out of and related to a local church with accountability to a senior minister. [Acts 13:1; Acts 15.] We believe that the church is the Body of Christ expressed as the church individual, the church local and the church universal and invisible. As such we believe the church to be more than just a building or a gathering of people. It is a body living in relationship and harmony under direction of the head, Jesus Christ. [I Cor. 6:15; II Cor. 1:1; Rom. 16:5; I Pet. 2:4-5; Eph. 2:19-22; I Cor. 12:12-31; Rom. 12:4-5; Eph. 4:11-16.] We believe that in all matters concerning the Body of Christ, in its direction, discipline, ministry and functioning that specific guidance and instruction, revelation and discernment of truth from falsehood, is available by the leading of the Holy Spirit who enables us to know spiritual things by the Spirit. [Acts 13:1-3; I Tim. 1:18; Rom. 8:14; I Tim. 5:22; John 16:13-15; I Cor. 5:3.]
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – We believe that the Holy Spirit is at work today within the Church through His gifts, fruits and anointed ministers. [Acts 2:39; Rom. 12:6-8; I Cor. 12:1-11; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 4:11; I Cor. 12:28.] We believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to every believer and need to be activated and exercised to fulfill their divine purpose of blessing the Body of Christ. [Acts 2:39; II Tim. 1:6.] We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit wherein the Spirit is sent to gift each believer with their own private prayer/praise language used to edify themselves, and that such a baptism empowers the believer to be effective for Christ. [Acts 1:8; Acts 2:39; I Cor. 14:2; Jude 20; I Cor. 14:18; Acts 19:1-6.] We believe in divine healing of the body as part of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. This healing can be received and also ministered to others by various gifts [I Cor. 12:8-10; Mat. 8:16-17; I Pet. 2:24.]
THE MINISTRIES OF CHRIST – We believe in the full function of the five-fold ministry which was given to perfect and equip the saints so they can enter into the work of their ministry, thereby edifying the whole Body of Christ. [Eph. 4:11-16; I Cor. 12:28.] We believe in the present day ministries of the apostles and prophets, which Christ has set in the Church as foundational and revelational ministries. We believe these two ministries will be restored to function in full power and authority before the literal second coming of Christ. [Eph. 2:20; Acts 3:21.]
DISCIPLINE – We believe in church discipline administered within the relational group in a spirit of meekness and confidentiality. The purpose of such discipline is the restoration of the one subject to the discipline and/or the purification of the relational group. The steps of discipline are one on one private confrontation, private confrontation with witnesses, and, finally, exposure to the relational group for judgment leading to restoration or separation. [Mat. 18:15-20; Gal. 6:1; Rom. 16:17; II John 9-11; I Cor. 5; II Cor. 2:6-8; I Tim. 5:20.]
MEDIATION – We believe as members of the same body of Christ, baptized by one spirit into one body that we must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and as such that we should not bring a lawsuit against another Christian individual or ministry unless all scriptural principles have been complied with through efforts of mediation. We believe that all such disputes should be resolved within the Body of Christ without taking them before unbelievers for judgment. (I Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:3-6).
PROPHECY – We believe that God speaks today. We believe that hearing from God, both individually as members and corporately as a church and association of churches, through prophecy or any other biblical means chosen by God to communicate, is essential to our faith and walk with God. Prophecy and prophetic utterance is only one method of discerning God’s will and direction and it is recognized that none of the methods or channels of prophecy will always be 100 percent accurate and actions should not be taken on the basis of prophetic words alone without other confirmation. We believe that prophetic presbytery serves the purpose in the Body of Christ in activating, establishing, releasing, commissioning, and ordaining gifts to their office, function, and place of relationship and/or leadership. [I Cor. 14:3, Eph. 4:11; Eph. 2:20; I Tim. 4:14; Acts 13:1-3; Titus 1:5; Rom. 12:6; I Pet. 4:10; I Cor. 14:39; I Cor. 14:1; I Thes. 5:19-21; I Tim. 5:22; II Tim. 1:6.]
ORDINANCES – We believe in two primary new testament ordinances: Baptism by immersion and The Lord’s Supper. However, we do not believe that the administration of such ordinances is limited to ordained or licensed ministers. We believe in the priesthood of believers. Ordination and licensing in this church is a separation and recognition of a specific gifting of God. We believe that God calls men into specific ministries as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. God calls. Man can only recognize the call and acknowledge it. Ordination is on the basis of that recognition of God’s gifting. Men called to a specific office by God and ordained or licensed by this church will have the right to participate in the traditional sacramental and ordinal functions of the church such as marriage, funerals, baptisms, and the like. They shall also be expected to function in the spiritual giftings of their office and to demonstrate the reality of their calling. This church is a non-sacramental protestant church. We reject the efficacy of ritual and the concept of a separate priestly class. We recognize the priesthood of believers and the serving ministry of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher with government by elders. As such, we recognize that those called to those offices will function in a manner to lead by example in prayer, worship, teaching, laying on of hands, and prophesying and that such actions on the part of those ordained and licensed by this church are equivalent to the sacramental function of the priesthood in traditional sacramental churches.
BENEVOLENCE – We believe that the Scriptures are clear concerning helping those in need. We are commanded to do good to all people as we have opportunity, with a special emphasis upon caring for those who profess to be fellow Christians, especially those of our own fellowship of believers. We are commanded to be generous and willing to share, laying up treasure for ourselves in the coming age by our kindness and generosity in this life. This is true for the church as an organization as well as for the individual members of the church. Therefore, in accordance with the biblical commands, as a fundamental aspect of the practice of our faith, we will share of our material goods with those in need and will minister to them to the best of our abilities, whatever the need. [Prov. 25:21; Is. 58:10; Gal. 6:10; 1 Tim. 6:18-19; Heb. 13:16.]
RELATIONS OF CHURCH AND STATE – God has entrusted the church the solemn Biblical responsibility of being the conscience of society, culture and government. As such the church has a duty before God to speak to the issues that arise from and relate to society, culture and government. Specifically, the church, in the tradition of the prophets, is required to call government to account before God for the actions taken by the government with the view toward keeping the government in its proper role and relationship as a steward under God of the resources of the nation. [I Kings 18:18; II Chron. 15:1-4; Matt. 5:13-14; Acts 12:23; I Sam. 15:14-35.] The church has a divine mandate to practice its religion as dictated by God. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The church is the blood-bought bride of Christ of whom Jesus is the head, the Lord and the only master. As such we categorically reject any and all claims by the state to headship or sovereignty over the church. When earthly governments leave their God-ordained sphere of responsibility and seek to restrain, hamper or limit the church’s obedience to Christ in all areas of life, then the church must and will obey God rather than man and must also confront the government with its error and call it back to its proper place under God. (Exodus 8, 9, 10; Daniel 3, 6; Acts 4:19; 5:29).
COUNSELING [DISCIPLESHIP] – We believe that the scriptures clearly define that members of a congregation can seek out advice, consultation, direction, purpose, resolution, and guidance from amongst the shepherds, elders, mature men and women, and Five-Fold Ministry Gifts within the Body of Christ. [I Kings 1:12; Prov. 27:9; Prov. 11:14; Ps. 55:13-14.] We further believe that consultation and instruction is applicable by the scriptures through sessions, a company of persons in close deliberation set together, to lay a foundation, set in place and give wise counsel. This also provides safety, defense, rescue and freedom from trouble. [Ps. 55:13-14; Prov. 1:11-14; Prov. 12:15.] The personal care of the saints is the sanctification of the whole person, body, soul and spirit, [I Thess. 3:13; 5:23.] through the love that flows from faith, patience and hope, and the redemptive power of the Cross of Christ, [Rom. 3:25; Luke 9:23.] The atoning blood of Jesus, [Eph. 2:13-16; I Peter 1:18-19.] The transformation of the soul through the word of God, [Rom. 12:1-2.] the denying of the old nature, [Gal. 2:20, 5:24; I Peter 1:13-15.] salvation through grace not works, [Eph. 2:1-8.] and the promise of the resurrection, [John 3:16, 10:25-26.] are the effective working mechanisms that characterize pastoral care ministry. Such ministry is foundational to the practice of our faith.
DELIVERANCE – The need for deliverance is manifested by an inability to be free from a bondage: e.g., mental (emotional), physical or spiritual normally associated with demon activity. It is God’s desire to bring deliverance to his people. Job 5:19, Psalms 91:3, II Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 2:15; II Peter 2:9). We have been granted the authority in the name of Jesus to bring deliverance to others. (Mark 16:17, John 14:12; I Cor. 12:8-11). We must understand that our warfare is with the forces of evil (Eph. 6:12), our weapon is the word of God, our authority and power is from Jesus himself (Mark 16:17, Acts 1:8) and that the battlefield is first of all in the spiritual realms. (Eph. 6:10-18, II Cor. 10:3-5, Rom. 8:9, Gal. 5:22-23).
MEMBERSHIP – The Church, by its very composition, is a membership organization. The local church is the manifestation within our society of The Church. Each local church exists for an express purpose in God’s plan. Individual members of the Body of Christ will wish to associate with our congregation as members. All believers are members of The Church. The Lord will set some of those members of The Church into this local congregation as members as it pleases him. As members of this local congregation they are given into the care and oversight of the leadership which must give an account to God for their souls. The elders of this church shall have the right to determine who may attend church meetings and functions. This church is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ who has entrusted the care of the flock to the leadership he has raised up here. It is not a place of public accommodation, nor is it a public institution, and its property is not a public place but is, rather, private property belonging to this church. (Acts 20:28-31; II Peter 2:1-3; I Tim. 1:20; 6:5; I Cor. 5:1-13; II Thess. 3:6-15; II John 9-11; II Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 3:10-11; Rom. 16:17).
REPENTANCE – Repentance is a gift from God. It is simply not true that a person can repent at any time. Repentance is dependent upon the convicting action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of sinners and believers. The conviction of the Holy Spirit, which often accompanies the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will result in the revelation of the sinfulness of self which should lead to Godly sorrow. Remorse, or worldly sorrow, is a feeling of deep regret, hopelessness or even despair. It does not lead to constructive change. On the other hand Godly sorrow, which may at times be mistaken for worldly sorrow, produces repentance which causes us to turn away from sin and selfishness and to receive faith for change. Worldly sorrow is destructive but repentance is life giving. Repentance changes the way we feel and act about sin, self and God. Repentance is a total change of heart, mind, attitude, emotions, will, action and lifestyle flowing form the turmoil and sorrow of Holy Spirit conviction of sin. [II Cor. 7:10; Psalms 51; Acts 11:18; II Tim. 2:25; Gen. 6:3; Rom. 1:18-32; Mat. 9:12-13.]
MARRIAGE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY – We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person. We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.) We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of [the organization] as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the [the organization] members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by [the organization] in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to abide by our statement of faith, including this Statement on marriage, Gender, and Sexuality and to conduct themselves in accord with it. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.) We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ by confession and repentance.(Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.) We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the Church