There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all-powerful and all-knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
We believe that God’s grace does not come to us as the result of human effort or worthiness (Romans 3:24-28; 11:6), but is the provision of God’s mercy and love freely given to those who will believe in His Son (Ephesians 2:4-10). Grace gives to us what we do not deserve nor can earn by our performance (Romans 11:6). It is by God’s grace that a person is able to experience forgiveness and a right relationship with Him (Ephesians 1:6-7; 2:8-9). Believers in Jesus Christ stand in the grace of God (Romans 5:2) and by it they have hope. For those in Christ, grace abounds far beyond sin and its consequences (Romans 5:15-19), to the end that condemned sinners are now able to have eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:20-21).
We believe that all people are sinners by nature and by choice – therefore, under God’s condemnation. We believe that as sinners (Romans 3:23) we are unable by human performance to earn, deserve, or merit salvation (Titus 3:5). We believe that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and that apart from God’s grace no one can be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). We believe that none are righteous before God (Romans 3:10-12), and that apart from the conviction and regeneration of the Holy Spirit, none can be saved (John 1:12-13; 16:8-11; I Peter 1:23-25). Mankind is clearly fallen and lost in sin.
We believe that Jesus Christ died as a substitute for and a satisfaction of God’s righteous judgment against sin “for the whole world” (1 John 2:2; 4:9-10). God redeems and forgives all who will believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as their only hope of salvation from sin, death, and hell (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19). We believe that eternal life is a gift of God (Romans 6:23), and that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will not perish, but will have eternal life (John 3:16-18). 1 Timothy 4:10 says “…we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” Hebrews 2:9 states that Jesus “…was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ was clearly sufficient to save the entire human race (2 Peter 2:1), but becomes effective only in those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).
The Bible affirms the doctrine of predestination, that God chose believers before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight and in love has predestined them to be adopted as His children (Ephesians 1:4-6). Those whom God has foreknown He has predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29-30). We believe that God offers salvation to all who will call on His name (Romans 10:13). We also believe that God calls to Himself those who will believe in His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9). The Bible teaches that there is a universal command to repent given to all people, that human beings make choices for which we are responsible, and that those choices have eternal consequences (Acts 17:30-31). Revelation 22:17 states, “…whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” I Peter 1:2 tells us we are, “…chosen [elect] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood…” Matthew 22:14 says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” God clearly does choose, but man must also accept God’s invitation to salvation. There is a mystery here. Any attempt at demonstrating that the Bible teaches only one side of this mystery must be rejected. To all who have believed, we say clearly: do not boast, for even your faith is by the grace of God. We cannot save ourselves, only God saves. And God alone receives glory for our salvation.
We believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 8:38-39), and that there is no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1). We believe that the promise of Jesus in John 10:27-28 is clear: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” Jesus said in John 6:37, “…whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” We have this assurance in Philippians 1:6: “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” We believe that the Holy Spirit has sealed us for the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
THE HOLY BIBLE
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, with supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The Holy Bible is God‘s revelation of Himself to man and is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth – without any mixture of error – for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us – therefore it is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, equal in every divine perfection. Together, they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption.
GOD THE FATHER
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all-powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all people.
(Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7)
GOD THE SON
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord.
(Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21- 22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14- 15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14- 15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16)
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the Holy Spirit who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin and to regenerate, sanctify and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer of Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide.The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables people to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls people to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer for the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
(Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28- 32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17)
We believe in the universal church as the Body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, maturing in wisdom and character, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation and each member is accountable to Jesus Christ and His will as revealed in Scripture. The scriptural officers of a local church are elders and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of elder is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
(Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3)
We do not regard tithing as a command, but do see it as a very valuable teaching tool and guiding principle for God’s people. God used it to teach the people in the Old Testament that the first, best and everything else belongs to Him and that an appropriate way of worshipping Him with sincere thankfulness was to give back to Him a portion of what He had first given to them (Leviticus 27:30-32). In Genesis 14, After receiving the blessing of God through Melchizedek, Abram responded by giving back to him one-tenth (a “tithe” means “a tenth”). Tithing was a common practice in cultures of that day; it was act of submission. God can use the tithe to teach the same lesson to His church.
As Christ followers, we must view all of our money as His and seek to use it for His purposes. Thus we do not command, but do strongly encourage people to give at least a tithe, and indeed for most to give more. Every instance of giving a percentage reported in the New Testament goes beyond ten percent. John the Baptist said that the man with two tunics should give away half (Luke 3:11). Zacchaeus (Luke 19:8) gave away half. The widow with two coins gave all she had (Luke 21:4). Although percentages are not given, the generosity of the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:44, 4:32-37) and Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1-5) appear to have gone far beyond a tithe. Paul also specifically instructs people to set money aside regularly and for those who were wealthier to give more (1 Corinthians 16:2, 1 Tim 6:17-18). Moved by the sacrifice of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of eternal life, it is right and natural for Christians to give even more than believers in the Old Testament.
We believe that the way we handle our giving is an important expression of where our values are. Since even the supporters of a tithe requirement would regard it as a bare minimum, we should continue to press into people the teachings of Jesus that we are to store up treasure in heaven and not to love money. If someone is not tithing, it would be appropriate to talk with them, find out why and ask them to think about whether their giving reflects what Jesus has taught. At the same time, it would be equally appropriate to talk to someone who is wealthy and only giving 10% in the same way. Our priority as a church must be to urge people, on the basis of God’s Word, to make monetary decisions that reflect a life orientation of loving God with all of our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Therefore, the most important question regarding our money at the Day of Judgment will not be, Did you tithe?, but rather, Did you love Me with all of your heart, and did you love your neighbor as yourself? These commands are to guide us in all things, including how we use the money God gives us to steward. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” To love God with all of yourself means that everything is for Him. If we view our money as being solely or even mostly for us, we are not loving God with all of our heart, and we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Paul’s commendation of the Macedonian church was that they had put both God and helping others first (2 Corinthians 8:5). Similarly, we do not command people to give any specific amount, but we do urge people to really think about what their monetary decisions reflect about the extent to which the two great commands of loving God and neighbor are the orientation of their lives. Giving, rightly understood, is a joyous investment rather than a heavy burden.