WHAT WE BELIEVE
The foundational elements that inform our practices and activity
CORE VALUES MATTER.
THEY DRIVE US.
WE DESIRE TO BE DEFINED BY THE GOSPEL.
The Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) infallible (all true) and inerrant (without error, contradiction or omission) inscripturated Word of God to man.
There is one true and living God revealed in the written text of Scripture as being eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son and Hoy Spirit.
Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God as so revealed in the gospels, was begotten by the Holy Spirit and was born of the virgin Mary. He was fully God and fully man (both natures in one entity without absolving any portion of either nature or substance of what it means to be either God or man). He lived a sinless life upon this earth experiencing humanity in its fulness absent a sin nature as all other men before him. He died by Roman crucifixion as part of the means by which substitutionary atonement could be made on behalf of fallen humanity. He rose bodily from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven where he continues his ministry at the right hand of God as our Advocate and High Priest. One day in the future (at any moment), Christ will literally, personally and visibly return to this earth to set up his Kingdom. This Kingdom was inaugurated at his first advent but will not be fully realized until he returns. This new Kingdom will bring about the judgment of all men and fallen spiritual beings, and Christ will rule and reign for all eternity in the new heaven and earth.
The Holy Spirit
The Bible assigns to the Holy Spirit all of the attributes of God and bestows upon him the status of God as the Person of the Holy Spirit. His activity in this world is evident in Scripture and especially realized in the church Jesus Christ established in his first advent. The ministry of the Holy Spirit includes reproving, regenerating, indwelling, guiding, and empowering humanity for the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Man was created by the direct act of God. He was made in the image of God and, in his original state, was innocent and sinless. Mankind was created with a free will allowing the ultimate ethic of love to be possible in this world. He was given a choice to live in obedience but chose to disobey God and, thereby, fell into a state of sin and condemnation. All of the descendants of Adam and Eve inherited a fallen, sinful nature and are under the condemnation of God. This requires a new birth made possible by substitutionary atonement - a process implemented by God in Genesis 3 and fully realized by the work of Christ in his death and resurrection.
Salvation is the free and gracious gift of God to all men everywhere (and in every time). This provision of salvation was made possible through the atoning death of Christ and subsequent resurrection. This work of atonement was sufficient for all but efficient only for those who choose to believe. Salvation is by grace through faith alone and is evidenced by the repentance of sin and a personal faith declaration in Christ as Savior and Lord.
Election of the saints is according to the foreknowledge of God and conditioned on personal, saving faith in Christ. Those who are saved by grace through faith become the "elect of God" by virtue of being "in Christ." God did not choose who would become his elect but, rather, provided a process by which the free will of man and the sovereignty of God could coexist in the redemptive process. This does not take away from the sovereignty of God but provides the proper understanding of the reconciliation of man to God without a seeming violation of his character or control in this world.
Every believer is made righteous in Christ at conversion because of the righteousness of Christ being placed upon his/her account. This is called justification. Sanctification is the process by which the Christian continues to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. This process is completed when the believer stands in the presence of Christ, either at death or at the return of our Lord.
Security of the Believer
All who are truly in Christ are kept by the power of God and secure in their relationship with God through Christ. This security is based upon their personal faith in Christ, a faith that is both instant and continual. It is God who does the saving and keeping of the believer. As a saved individual, and the fact of the free will of man still existing after salvation, we believe it to be possible for someone to reject his/her salvation in the act of ceasing to trust in Christ for salvation. This person is, at this point, in an irremediable condition of lostness that is defined as the apostasy of the believer. We reject any form of repeated regeneration and do not believe someone is "saved, lost, saved, lost, etc." based upon their personal obedience to Christ. As a point of clarity, it is acceptable to say there is security in Christ for the believer, and the salvation of the believer cannot be lost or sinned away. It requires an act of the will for apostasy to take place.
God has given his church the ordinances of baptism, the Lord's Supper, and feet washing. Baptism is administered only to believers by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Lord's Supper is open to all born-again believers who are present. Feet washing is the act of remembering the way Christ served his disciples and commanded us to do the same for one another. It is an ordinance that is more symbolic than practical, i.e., we do not use soap and water, only a basin, the covering of the feet with water, and a towel to dry the feet.
The Second Coming of Christ
There will be a literal return of Jesus Christ to receive all believers of all ages to himself. He will also judge the world with absolute and final justice. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. While there are many eschatological views, and we respect each view, we adhere to a premillennial return of Christ and subsequent reign from the throne of David (new heaven and new earth implemented at this time).