What We Believe
The central ministry of the local church is the continuous imparting of the Scriptures to the people of God so they may know God and serve Him in worship and in ministry.
Through their years of study, training, teaching, and experience, the elders have come to convictions regarding major theological truths of the Bible. Listed below are those major truths in a simple and concise form. These are the primary doctrines of the Christian faith, and reflect the heart of the teaching and preaching ministry of the local church.
The Bible is the written revelation of God, being fully inspired, absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. It is the only authority for all faith and practice (Psalm 19:1-14; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 30:8; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:34-35; John 10:35; John 16:12-13; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; II Peter 1:20-21; Luke 24:27/, 44; John 5:39; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).
There is only one true and living God Who is perfect, personal, infinite, and He exists eternally in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Genesis 1:26; Psalm 139:8; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4; John 4:24; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-5; Revelation 1:4-6). God is the first Person of the Trinity. He orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace. He is sovereign in providence and redemption (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:33). We believe He is the sole Creator of the universe, which He accomplished from no pre-existing substance, but by the creative power of His spoken Word (Genesis 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:1-3). He is Immutable (Psalm 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8), Omnipotent (Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 115:3; Psalm 33:6; Romans 4:17; Isaiah 44:24; Hebrews 1:3), Omnipresent (Jeremiah 23:23; Psalm 139:1-24) and Omniscient (Isaiah 40:13; Romans 8:28; Psalm 104:24; Matthew 6:25-33; 1 Corinthians 4:5).
Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity, possessing all the divine excellencies and is co-equal with the Father. He is true Man at the same time (Philippians 2:5-8; Micah 5:2; Colossians 2:9; John 14:9-11; 1 John 5:20; Jude 25). He is the virgin born Son of the living God (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-25; Luke 1:26-35), was God in human flesh (John 1:1, 3, 14, 18; 1 John 1:3). He lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15), died on the cross in the place of our sins (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 3:25; Romans 5:8), rose physically from the grave (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Hebrews 9:24-28), ascended to sit at the right hand of God to intercede on every believer’s behalf (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 7:25; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:14-16), and is returning to receive His church and rule and reign forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. A divine Person, eternal (Hebrews 9:14) and co-equal with the Father (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:2-6). The Holy Spirit:
- Convicts of sin (John 16:8-11)
- Glorifies JESUS CHRIST (John 15:26)
- Regenerates the unsaved (John 3:5-8)
- Indwells the believer (John 14:16-18; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- Comforts the afflicted (John 14:16, 26)
- Equips the saints with gifts (Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12)
- Sanctifies (Romans 15:16)
- Unifies the body (Ephesians 4:3)
- Assures us of our salvation (1 John 3:24)
- Teaches us the Word of God (John 14:17, 26)
We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). And the evidence of His presence in our lives will be the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
The Bible teaches that man is by nature a sinner (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:3). Consequently, he is a member of the fallen race (Romans 5:18-19).
The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation does not come as the result of something we have done but rather because of what God has done. It is a free gift that cannot be earned or deserved (Romans 6:23). We receive that “gift” by faith in the Lord JESUS CHRIST.
The Bible teaches that baptism is the immersion in water of a penitent believer. In the New Testament church, every believer was commanded to be baptized (Acts 2:38). Baptism symbolizes the following:
- Cleansing and forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16)
- The New Birth (John 3:5)
- Circumcision of the Heart (Colossians 2:11-12)
- The Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-5)*
- Salvation (1 Peter 3:21)
*Immersion in water is the only physical act that pictures this so beautifully and accurately. Baptism is not an option for the true believer. It is an acid test of our true faith in the Lord JESUS CHRIST. (Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:15)
The Bible does not teach unconditional security. The condition to our security is that we must truly be saved. Someone who claims to be saved, yet lives a life of continual, habitual sin is like the person Paul warned Jude about in Jude 4: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” The person who lives like this is not saved and is living with a false security (Hebrews 6:4-8; 1 John 3:6).
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to the body for the accomplishment of the Lord’s mandate to the church (1 Corinthians 12:11; 14:26b; Matthew 28:18-20). The exercise or use of any spiritual gift must be operated in accordance with Scriptural principles and under the oversight of the eldership of the local church.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Bible teaches that JESUS established two ordinances: The Lord’s Supper (Communion) and Baptism. Only contrite, repentant believers who have carefully examined themselves should partake of this supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-32). The Bible does not set a prescribed time for observing this supper, but we make it available each Sunday (Acts 20:7), on a weekly basis, here at our church.
*JESUS simply said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
THE RAPTURE & THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
The one great event toward which all creation moves is the RETURN of JESUS CHRIST to this earth. Romans 11:36 says, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”
The SECOND COMING must be distinguished from the RAPTURE of the church prior to the SEVEN–YEAR TRIBULATION.
- At the RAPTURE, CHRIST comes FOR His saints (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
- At the SECOND COMING, He comes WITH them (Revelation 19:14).
- At the RAPTURE, CHRIST MEETS His saints IN THE AIR (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to take them to Heaven (John 14:2-3).
- At the SECOND COMING, He DESCENDS with them FROM Heaven to the earth (Zechariah 14:4).
Dr. John MacArthur says: “Some attempt to harmonize those two distinctions by arguing that believers meet Christ in the air, then descend to earth with Him. By so doing, they essentially make the RAPTURE and the SECOND COMING the same event. But that view trivializes the rapture. There is not a hint of judgment in passages describing the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), but judgment plays a prominent role in the second coming (Revelation 19:11, 15, 17-21). The dramatic signs accompanying the second coming, such as the darkening of the sun and moon and the disruption of the ‘powers of the heavens’ (Matthew 24:29-30), are not mentioned in the passages describing the rapture. In its description of the second coming, Revelation 19 does not mention either a rapture of living believers (1 Corinthians 15:52-52), or a resurrection of dead believers (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
In short, the RAPTURE of the church is a separate event and takes place first, then the SECOND COMING.
For centuries scoffers have sarcastically asked: “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:4) In Revelation 19, the Heavens open and the Lord, JESUS CHRIST comes forth in all His splendid glory as the triumphal procession begins and the scoffers are silenced forever.
The fact of the Second Coming is taught all throughout the Bible.
- There are scores of Messianic predictions in the O.T. that look forward to the second coming of our Lord.
- In the N.T., for every time the Holy Spirit mentions the first coming He mentions the second coming eight times.
- Of the 27 books in the N.T., all but four make direct reference to the Second Coming.
- One out of every 25 verses in the N.T. is concerned with this thrilling truth.
- The majority of the N.T. writers mention the Second Coming.
In John 14:1-4, Jesus promised His Second Coming. Believers are encouraged to look forward to the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and in the model prayer, Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
Revelation 1:8. Predicts that JESUS is the one “who is, and who was, and who is to come…”
All of creation, all of human history and everything in the Scriptures builds to the point of Christ’s return!
The Bible teaches that the local church is to be governed by a plurality of godly leaders called elders (1 Timothy 5:17). The qualifications for these men are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:6-9. The responsibility of the elders is to shepherd the flock of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3). The responsibility of the believers is to obey the elders and submit to them in love (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17). Some elders will have the responsibility of preaching and teaching in a local fellowship (1 Timothy 5:17).
The Bible teaches that all who place their faith in the Lord JESUS CHRIST are immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into one, united spiritual body (1 Corinthians 12:13). The head of this body is JESUS (Ephesians 5:23b; Colossians 1:18). The task of this “body” of believers is to make disciples in all the world by winning the lost to Christ and equipping them for ministry (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 1:28-29).
The Bible teaches that if someone is sick they may call for the elders of the church to come and anoint them with oil and pray for them (James 5:14-15).
WORSHIP AND PRAISE
The Bible teaches that God inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). In fact, we are commanded to praise the Lord and to worship Him (Psalm 150). Our worship and praise to God may express itself in many forms: clapping and shouting (Psalm 47:1), singing (Psalm 95:1-2), bowing and kneeling (Psalm 95:6), lifting hands (Psalm 63:4), or even by playing musical instruments (Psalm 150:3-5). Worship is the pouring out of all that we are in adoration to Him for all that He is.
The Bible teaches that we are to follow the steps JESUS gave in Matthew 18:15-20 in the case of a brother or sister guilty of sin. All church discipline should be redemptive and restorative in nature (Galatians 6:1-2). Sins such as immorality are to be dealt with lovingly and precisely (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). Believers are instructed in Scripture to judge other believers (1 Corinthians 5:12). And they are to be obedient and submissive to the spiritual leaders God has placed in the church (Hebrews 13:17).
The steps of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 are as follows:
STEP ONE – You have first-hand knowledge of sin in someone’s life. You go to them privately and confront them (Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP TWO – You go back and confront them again with two or three others who have witnessed this sin and can verify it (Matthew 18:16; Deuteronomy 19:15; 1 Timothy 5:19). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP THREE – You take this matter before the leaders of the church (Matthew 18:17; 1 Timothy 5:19-20). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP FOUR – You withdraw fellowship from this person (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP FIVE – Have nothing to do with them (Romans 16:17-19; 2 Thessalonians 3:6). You have done everything you can do. (Ezekiel 33:7-9)
If they don’t repent it may mean several things: (a) They may not even be saved (1 John 3:6; James 5:19-20), (b) If they are saved, they may be facing some severe chastisement and discipline from God (Hebrews 12:6; I Corinthians 11:30), (c) God may just take their life (1 John 5:16; 1 Corinthians 11:30)