What We Believe

Statement of Faith

We believe that God exists in three persons and each is worthy of praise and worship. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have distinct ministries in our lives. It is our goal to study/explore those ministries so we may know Him and be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

The Bible is the word of God and has been faithfully transmitted to us down through the ages. It is the final authority for every aspect of faith and life today. The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift by God’s grace. This gracious gift is based upon our faith in Jesus Christ.

God’s primary purpose for us is to provide for our salvation through the forgiveness of our sins. He then wants to transform us throughout our lives by renewing our minds so that we can live as the new persons we are in Christ. Finally, His plan is to give us new glorified bodies when we are taken home to Heaven.

The central theme of the Bible and God’s overall plan was the death of Christ; that death had to occur at all costs. Through that death God was just in that He judged sin, and He was the justifier since He provided the means for our sins to be forgiven. Once forgiven, all believers today are made members of a spiritual body called the Body of Christ.

We live in the Age of Grace (Church Age). Our Age is very special because in it: 1) all people are equal before God, 2) we are saved by His grace through faith alone, and 3) all this is accomplished by God alone (independent of anyone or anything else). Our Age, and what would transpire in it, was God’s sacred secret until revealed in His time.

We teach the gospel of the Grace of God with the intent of exalting Jesus Christ and making known what He has done for us. The passion, wisdom, and plans of God compel us to share this good news with others.

Doctrinal Statement

God

We believe that God eternally exists in three persons–the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. These three persons exist as one with all the same nature and attributes. All persons of the Godhead are worthy of the same worship and obedience. All that exists (universe, matter and energy, angels, humans, etc.) were created by God alone (all three persons), out of nothing, by the word of His mouth. All things continue to exist due to His sustaining power. All persons of the Godhead are involved in our present life and in our glorious future. In God we live and move and have our being. (Deut. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5; Eph. 4:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Matt. 28:19; Gen. 1-2:4; Isa 42:5; Isa. 45:8; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 10:6; Jn. 1:3)

The Father

We believe that God the Father is love and that He extends His love to all people. Before the formation of the world, God had a predestined purpose and plan of redemption in mind for mankind. He is actively executing that purpose/plan today, just as He has throughout history. It is the Father’s justice that demanded payment for sin because He cannot overlook or ignore sin’s penalty. He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. It is by His grace each person is saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The Father answers our prayers according to His will and assures us of His peace in life’s trials. (Rom. 3:25-26, 5:8, 8:27-32; Eph. 1:11, 2:8-9; Phil. 4:6-7)

The Son (Jesus Christ)

We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, death on the Cross (as our substitute and our provision for redemption), resurrection, ascension into Heaven, revelation of the mystery after His ascension, His present ministry of intercession, and His personal return. (Luke 1:35; Phil 2:6-9; Eph. 3: 1-10; Gal. 1: 15-17; Rom. 1:3-4, 8:34)

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts the unbeliever of sin, reveals to all the need for a right relationship with God, and teaches the believer spiritual truth from the Word. He baptizes each believer into the Body of Christ and then seals them in Christ. He enlightens, empowers, comforts, and equips the believer for service. The Holy Spirit in previous ages came upon believers and gave them miraculous powers; today He indwells the believer and produces His fruit within them. The Holy Spirit enables us to live a God-pleasing and sanctified life. The Holy Spirit is instrumental in the transformation (renewal) of the believer’s mind and in interceding on our behalf. (Rom. 8:26-27, 12:2; Gal. 5:16-26; John 16:7-8; 1 Cor. 2:10-12, 12:13; Eph. 1:13-14; Tit. 3:5)

The Bible

We believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible and that it is without error in the original writings. The Lord has assured the faithful transmission of those original writings to humans throughout all ages. The Bible we have today is the Word of God. It is thus the supreme and final authority for every aspect of faith and life today. (Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21)

Humanity

Humans were created by God in His image and likeness, thus sinless. The first humans disobeyed God and became sinners (subject to spiritual and physical death). All humans today are sinners, both by nature and by choice, and are unable by themselves to do anything about the consequences of their sin. We must do as God directs (see Salvation) in order to have our sins forgiven and to have a right relationship with Him. (Gen. 1:26-27; John 15:5; Rom 3:9-23, 8:6-7; I Cor. 1:18-31; Eph. 2:1-3; Tit. 3:5)

God’s Plan for Humans

Humans were created by God with three aspects: body, soul (mind, emotions, personality), and spirit (that part of us that is God-conscious and can relate to God). God has a predetermined plan and purpose for each of these three aspects of humanity. For our spirit His predetermined plan is for salvation, which forgives our sins and makes us new creatures in Christ. For our soul He desires that we be transformed by the renewing of our mind, which over our lifetimes makes us more and more like Christ. His plan for our body is to give us a glorified body at the Rapture. (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 3:21; I Cor. 15:35-58; 2 Cor. 3:18)

Salvation

We believe that God freely gives salvation to the ungodly by His grace through their personal choice to have faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift from God apart from any human works. Salvation is a gracious free gift, non-repayable, unmerited, non-deserved, an act of God, a divine favor, complete and instantaneous upon belief, and permanent. When a person believes he/she is a sinner and that Christ died for their sins, they are saved by His grace. (John 3:16; Rom. 3:24-28; Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9; 2 Cor. 5:21)

Eternal Security

We believe all the saved are sealed by the Holy Spirit and are thus eternally secure (cannot lose their salvation). Salvation is an act of God that we cannot undo; God knew of all our future sins and doubts when He saved us. (Col. 3:1-4; Phil. 1:6; Eph. 1:13-14; Rom. 8:29-34; 1 Cor. 15:3)

Forms of Revelation

God assures each person has an opportunity to know of God’s existence, invisible attributes, and eternal power. He accomplishes this through His creation (general revelation) and the written Word (special revelation). So, one way or the other, everyone has an opportunity to know of God’s existence. If they seek Him they will find the truth they need. Every person in every age has this witness from God, so the Bible concludes they are all without excuse. Since the created world is part of His revelation to us, He does not in any way deceive or confuse us by it. Any such confusion would send a false message of Who He is and it would not declare the glory of God. Both revelations declare his glory, power, and attributes. Thus, the special revelation and the written revelation will agree if we interpret the Scripture correctly and if the findings of science are correct. (Rom. 1:19-20; Acts 14:17; Job 9:8-9; Rom. 10:18; Psa. 19:1-4, 104)

Understanding the Bible

We believe God does not change. In addition, there are principles contained in the Bible which do not change. All Scripture is profitable for our learning and admonition; indeed, we must study and learn from the entire Bible. What does change over time is the way God deals with mankind, as revealed in the Bible. Thus, we believe that the Holy Scriptures are best understood through the framework of God dealing in different ways at different times in history. These changes in the outworking of God’s predestined purpose(s) are referred to as dispensations (“ages” may be better understood today). To some degree all Bible believers understand various ages (innocence, law, grace, kingdom, etc.), so they apply this truth in one form or another. This truth helps unlock the Scriptures and opens our understanding of what God is doing. Some have become extreme in the application of this truth and that has harmed its credibility.

We live in the Dispensation of Grace today, which is essentially synonymous with the Age of Grace or Church Age. We are to rightly divide the word of truth which means we must discern and respect the distinctions God has made in His Word. We do not confuse God’s specific instructions to Israel, or other ages, with those for the Body of Christ today. We are also told to test or prove all things so we are not led astray by false teachings. (Rom. 16:25-27; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:1-12; Col. 1:24-29; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thes. 5:21)

Age of Grace

We believe the Apostle Paul was given a distinctive message and it is in his writings (revealed by the Lord after His ascension) that the position, doctrine, and destiny of the Church (the Body of Christ) are made known. Within this distinctive message is a body of truth referred to as the mystery (secret). The mystery was hidden in God until revealed according to God’s perfect timing. The mystery is the divine purpose to: 1) make of Jew and Gentile a whole new thing (the Body of Christ), 2) to do this apart from human instrumentality, and 3) to offer salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (no works). In the Age of Grace, the Church is the true, invisible body of believers. The Church did not take the place of Israel; it is a whole new thing. God has a specific plan for Israel yet in the future; every promise given to them will be kept. Understanding this, there are times when the Church’s expectations, teachings, and ordinances differ from those of Israel. In general, we were given all Israel’s spiritual blessings ahead of time, but not her earthly blessings. (Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:24-27)

The mystery had to be hidden in God and kept a strict secret through the ages, until just the right time. The Bible makes it clear that if Satan and the rulers of this world had known of it they would not have crucified Christ. The Father’s justice demanded payment for sin, but these rulers carried out the actual death of Christ. Had they known of what would be accomplished in the Age of Grace they would not have crucified Christ. If His death had not occurred no one would be saved, not one person in all of history. The central theme of the Bible and God’s overall plan was the death of Christ. Thus, God had to keep our Age of Grace a secret until just the right time, which assured Christ’s death and our salvation. (1 Cor. 2:6-8)

Spiritual Baptism

God predestined in the beginning that for anyone to be saved today he/she must be “in Christ.” We believe that the Holy Spirit places all believers into Christ upon faith in Him. Placing us in Christ is referred to as spiritual baptism. Through this work of the Spirit, we are identified (made one) with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. This spiritual baptism is an act of God and establishes our salvation. This is a divine, spiritual, and real (not figurative) baptism. (Rom. 6:3-4, 8:1; I Cor. 1:17, 12:12-13; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 1:10, 4:3-6; Col. 1:28, 2:9-12; Heb. 9:9-10)

Resurrection

Just as the Lord was resurrected from the dead, so we will be resurrected when Christ personally comes to take His Church to Heaven. We will then be given new, glorified bodies. Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ will suffer the eternal punishment of the unsaved dead. (Luke 16:23-28, 24:39-43; 1 Cor. 15:12-24; Phil 3:21; 1 Thes. 1:9; 2 Thes. 1:7-9; Rev. 14:11, 20:4-6, 20:14-15)

Spiritual Fruit and Gifts

We believe the indwelling Holy Spirit is active in the believer’s life, producing the fruit of the Spirit. This is the fruit that transforms our minds, creates His will and desire in our hearts, molds our character, and shapes our inner value system to conform us to Christ. Natural fruit grow slowly and take time to mature, analogous to the Spirit’s transformational maturation of the believer throughout life. (Gal. 5:22; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:17-24, 5:8; Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:16)

Spiritual gifts are not the same as spiritual fruit. Spiritual gifts were given to believers in the first century as a sign to unbelieving Israel that the dreaded last days were upon them. A clear sign to them that a change was taking place and that they must accept Christ as Savior. The gifts were given to all believers, instantaneously, in complete form, and were visible/known to all. They also operated in the early Church in order to give it immediate help during its infancy. The sign gifts of miraculous powers, healing, tongues, etc., (as existed in the first century), have ceased as plainly declared by the Apostle Paul. It is likely all the gifts of that period have ceased, being temporary in nature. If all the gifts have ceased, people today are given talents, strengths, and abilities from the Lord in certain areas of their lives which they can use to edify the Body of Christ. In addition, the offices of pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc., are in operation today. It should be made clear that God still works in amazing and miraculous ways, according to His will. He may work in anyone’s life in unforeseen ways; however, He does not work through human intermediaries (miracle workers) to perform such wondrous acts. (Rom. 11:11-36; 1 Cor. 1:22, 12:1-3, 13:8-13; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 2:20, 4:7-16; Phil. 2:25-26; 1 Tim. 4:20, 5:23; Acts 2:16-18; Joel 2:28-29)

Return of Jesus Christ

We believe in the pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church. The Rapture was a non-prophesied event until revealed to the Apostle Paul. The Rapture brings the Age of Grace (the mystery age), to an end. After the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord occur. Then, the well prophesied Second Coming of Christ will take place, after which He will reign on the earth for one thousand years. (1 Thes. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:13-14; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; Phil. 3:20-21; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:20-27; Zech. 14:4 & 9; Matt. 24:15-41; Rev. 19:11-16, 20:1-4)