We believe the 66 books of the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments, are given by God's inspiration and that in the original writings they are without error. We believe the Scriptures originated with God but were written using humans as the means and thus speak with the authority of God while reflecting the backgrounds, cultures, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. They are the unique, reliable, and the final authority on all matters of Christian faith and practice.
We believe in one true God, Creator of all things, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and, in His incarnation was also fully man; having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. We believe He was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now acts as the only mediator between God and people.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the divine Counselor sent by God after the ascension of Jesus Christ to convict sinners and guide Christians on their journey with Jesus as He dwells within the Christian’s heart.
We believe that people were created in the image of God for a loving relationship with God in His eternal Kingdom. However, beginning with the first man & woman (Adam and Eve), we have all rebelled against God and chosen to go our own selfish independent way. Mankind is thereby alienated from God and now suffers the corruption of our nature because of our sin. The effects of this fall upon our intended relationship with God can only be reversed through faith in Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and life in God's eternal Kingdom.
We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from the eternal penalty of our sin – separation from God. No amount of good works or human effort can restore us from our state of eternal alienation from God. It is only by God's grace that we are saved from this state of alienation, and this grace is appropriated by a change of heart toward God's authority in our lives and by faith in Jesus to forgive our sins. The Biblical pattern for expressing one's personal decision to place faith in Jesus Christ and turn from sin involves water baptism by immersion, which re-enacts the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Baptism is the concrete means by which we entrust and commit ourselves to God through Christ in a visible, historical moment.
We believe that there is only one true Church universally composed of all people who have been regenerated and forgiven by Jesus Christ. It is reflected by a diversity of believers working and serving together, using their gifts to build one another up, forming the parts of the body of Christ, the Church. Scripture commands believers to gather together in local congregations for the scriptural teaching, fellowship, prayer, mutual encouragement, worship of God, and disciple-making. Wherever God's people meet in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church, and that every local church has the obligation under Christ to decide and govern its own affairs in obedient submission to the will of God, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God.
We believe that God made us for relationships, with God himself and with our fellow human beings. We emphasize the two greatest commandments which are to love God with all of one's heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love others as we love ourselves. Our love for others, especially other Christians, is the clearest demonstration to the world that we are true disciples. Love is the answer God has provided to the many problems faced by humanity. God's love for us and His empowerment in us is to love others as He loves us.
We believe that the distinguishing characteristic of those who live in God's Kingdom is Christ-likeness. Discipleship is the fundamental ministry of the local church which facilitates the development of such people. Love for others displayed in ministering to the poor, reaching out to people who are spiritually lost, serving others, practicing forgiveness, and the like are all signs of the presence of God's Kingdom and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Those with genuine faith are known by the fruit of their lives and their pattern of faithfulness to Jesus and His commandments. Thus, the local church becomes a counter-culture community, whose members live Christ-centered lives.
LEADERSHIP & MINISTRY of the CHURCH
By His grace, God has empowered and equipped every Christian for service in the body of Christ. Each Christian helps build up the church in unity and love. In a local congregation, ministry happens under the authority of the elders. Following the Bible as the source of this model of leadership, elders are men called by God to serve as the primary servant leaders and teachers of the church. Under their leadership, men and women minister in multiple ways. Some serve as paid ministry staff, while others serve as volunteers in areas such as teaching, worship, childcare, and hospitality, to expand His Kingdom throughout the world.
We believe that baptism by immersion is declared in scripture as the God-ordained method for giving one's heart to God, trusting Christ, and receiving God's promises. We emphasize that God looks at the heart. So, while we affirm that scripture binds us to uphold this biblical teaching of baptism, we also acknowledge that God is sovereign and saves people as He sees fit. Baptism, as taught and practiced in scripture, is the normative method given to enable a person to give his or her heart to God and become a Christian. It is a requirement before one becomes a formal part of the local church family. We acknowledge that there are circumstances where God can save people by looking at the heart, apart from the normative mode of baptism. God is not bound to baptism, but we are.
COMMUNION - THE LORD'S SUPPER
We take communion every week, following the example of the early church, because it provides us a reminder of the foundational teachings of our faith related to the death, resurrection, ascension, and promised heavenly hope of communing one future day with Jesus in Heaven. Though it is a distinction among our churches that we take communion every week, we do not believe that one must take communion every week – it is our choice. We choose to partake of the Lord's Supper on a weekly basis to be constantly brought back to Christ the center of our faith, His atoning death, His future coming, and God's grace.
We believe that God provides His followers with spiritual gifts which empower them to serve according to His will for their lives. These gifts are uniquely given so that each member can serve effectively in an area of God's choosing, consistent with His calling upon the believer's life. All spiritual gifts must be used to edify Christ and His Church, not the individual members.
While we believe in the supernatural power of our God to communicate beyond our limitations, to heal us of all infirmities, and to humble us with demonstrations of His power over heaven and earth; we believe that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, imparted by the laying on of the apostles hands, ceased at the end of the apostolic age.
We believe that we must be united in these key areas related to our understanding of the end times:
- The resurrection of the dead,
- A literal return of Christ,
- The final judgment by God,
- Hell, and
We believe people will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is eternal death in Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. Beyond our acceptance of the key biblical truths described above, a discussion of the "end times" is not a salvation issue and should in no way divide us nor hinder the Lord's work in and through His Church.