The Inspiration of the Bible
We believe that the Bible in the original writings, consisting of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, was given by divine inspiration and is the Word of God (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21); that it is authoritative, infallible, and is the only supreme and ultimate authority for faith and practice (Acts 17:11; Isaiah 8:20).
We believe that there is only one God, eternally existent in three Persons as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; I John 5:7). These three are equally God, complete in every form of deity, and yet they each maintain their distinctiveness as individual Persons of the Godhead (John 16:13-16; I Peter 1:2).
- God the Father: We believe in God the Father, Creator and Sustainer of all things visible and invisible (Gen. 1:1; Ex. 20:2-3), Who is perfect in holiness (Lev. 19:2), eternal in power (Rom. 1:20), infinite in love (I John 4:8-9), perfect in justice (Rom. 3:26), absolute in truth (Titus 1:2), and is eternally existent, the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13).
- God the Son: We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:58), that He is the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14), that He was born of a virgin (Matt. 1:18,22-23), that He lived a perfect, sinless life (II Cor. 5:21), that He suffered and died making an infinite and substitutionary atonement for sinful man through His shed blood (I Pet. 1:19; 2:24), and that He rose bodily from the grave (Matt. 28:6), ascended to the Father (Acts 1:9-11), and sits at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3).
- God the Spirit: We believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit, Who is equal with God the Father and God the Son (Acts 5:3-4; Matt. 28:19). His deity is expressed by His attributes such as: omniscience (I Cor. 2:11; Isa. 40:13), omnipresence (Ps. 139:7), and omnipotence (Job 33:4); and it is expressed by His actions/works such as: creation (Gen. 1:2), inspiration of the Scriptures (II Pet. 1:21), and in the generating of the Christ Child (Luke 1:35). His ministry today is to convict the world of sin (John 16:8-11), to administer the new birth (John 3:6), to seal the believer (Eph. 1:13-14), and to indwell and fill the believer for righteous living (Eph. 5:18; Rom. 8:8-14).
Because of the large movement in contemporary Christianity which claims to practice sign gifts granted by the Holy Spirit, we feel it necessary to state our belief on the matter. We believe that speaking in tongues is not a sign of either regeneration or sanctification and that the New Testament gift of tongues is not in existence today. We believe that the gift of tongues was among those temporary spiritual gifts bestowed by God upon His churches in apostolic times, and that when its purpose was accomplished, the gift ceased (II Cor. 13:11). We believe that the gift of tongues was never required as an outward demonstration of either the baptism or the filling of the Spirit (I Cor. 12:13, 30; Eph. 5:18).
We believe in the literal Bible account of the creation of all things, as accomplished in six successive, twenty-four hour periods of creative activity by all three Persons of the Trinity (Gen. 1:1-27; Col. 1:16-17; John 1:1-3).
We believe that man was created by an instantaneous, deliberate act of God, out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7), and that God’s image was imparted to man at creation (Gen. 1:27). We believe that woman was created from the rib of man as a suitable helper for him (Gen. 2:20-24). Although created in innocence, we believe man fell by a direct act of disobedience to God and became universally depraved and in need of a Savior (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 3:10-12; 5:12-21; Ps. 58:3).
We believe that because man is utterly helpless in his sinful condition and can by no means within himself or by religious works reconcile himself to God, God provided through Jesus Christ a way of salvation described by the following terms:
- Justification: We believe that justification is a judicial act of God by which He imparts to the believer complete pardon from all sins, and imputes the believer with His own righteousness (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:21-22; 4:6-8; John 5:24; Phil. 3:8-9).
- Blood Atonement: We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly by grace, that the Lord Jesus died for the sins of all mankind as a substitute or representative, and that all who repent of their sins, believe in Him and by faith receive Him are justified on the basis of His shed blood (Acts 20:21; Rom. 4:4-5; 5:9; Eph. 2:8-9; I Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24).
- New Birth: We believe that in order to be saved, all men, women, and children, being sinners, must be “born again”; that all who receive Jesus Christ by faith are “born again” by the Spirit of God; and that this new birth takes place instantaneously at conversion (John 1:12-13; II Cor. 5:17; Titus 3:5).
- Sanctification: We believe that sanctification is a progressive work of God in the believer’s life that makes us more and more like Christ and free from sin in our actual lives. It is also a process in which the believer both actively and passively participates with God (Phil. 1:6; I Thes. 4:3-7; 5:23-24; Heb. 2:11).
- Glorification: We believe that glorification is the final step in the application of redemption. It is when the Lord reunites believers’ souls with their bodies and changes the bodies of all believers, thereby giving them at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like His own. As a theological term, it is a synonym of immortality – when immortality is thought of as the gift of eternal life for believers (Rom. 8:16-30; I Cor. 15:35-43; Rev. 21:1-5)
- Eternal Security: We believe that all who accept the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again by the Holy Spirit, that they are children of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and are kept by the power of God and thereby are eternally saved (Gal. 3:24-26; Eph. 1:13; I Pet. 1:3-5; I John 5:13).
We believe that Satan is literal and personal, that he is the agent of man’s initial fall from innocence (Gen. 3:1-7; II Cor. 4:3-4), that he was created by God as beautiful and morally good, but through his own pride was cast down out of heaven (Ezek. 26:11-19), that he is the god of this world and will be punished eternally (Eph. 2:1-4; Rev. 20:10). The names given to him in the Scripture are numerous and descriptive of his character. They serve as warning enough of his destructive ways. A few of those names are given here to underscore the warning. He is known as the devil, the dragon, a serpent, the god of this world, the tempter, the deceiver, the evil one, a lion, and the prince of the power of the air (Matt. 4:1,3; John 14:30; Eph. 2:2; Rev. 9:11; 12:10; 20:2).
We believe the church is the body of Christ and is alive; it is made up of born again, baptized believers; that it is the spiritual body made manifest through local churches which are to be autonomous and self-governing; and that the officers of the church consist of the pastor and deacons (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:30; I Cor. 12:1-21; Acts 2:41-42,47; Gal. 1:2; I Tim. 3:1-13).
The Ordinances of the Church
We believe that Christ as Head of the church commanded two different ordinances to be practiced by believers: the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. These ordinances are to be carried out by the local church.
- Baptism: We believe biblical baptism is baptism by immersion of believers after they have put their faith in Christ for salvation, that it is not necessary for salvation but is an act of obedience after one is saved, and that it is a prerequisite for church membership (Acts 2:41; 8:36-38; 10:47-48; I Cor. 1:13-17).
- The Lord’s Table: We believe that the Lord’s Table is to be practiced by born again, baptized local church members who are walking in obedience to the Lord; that it is done in remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus; that it has no saving power, rather, it is a time of self-examination and remembrance (Matt. 26:26-29; Luke 22:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-32).
We believe that at the death of the body, the spirits and souls of believers go instantly into the presence of the Lord and that the Lord has a complex future plan for the earth and all people (I Cor. 15:50-58; II Cor. 5:6-8; I Thess. 4:13-18). The following is a description of some of these events.
The blessed hope of the believer is the imminent, personal, pre-tribulational, pre-millennial appearance of Christ to rapture the church. His righteous judgments will then be poured out on an unbelieving world during the tribulation, the last half of which is the Great Tribulation. The climax of this fearful era will be the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth in great glory to introduce the Davidic kingdom. Satan will be bound, and the curse will be lifted from the physical creation. Israel will be saved and restored to national superiority. Following the Millennium, the Great White Throne judgment will occur, at which time the bodies and souls of the wicked dead shall be reunited and cast into the lake of fire. Jesus Christ shall reign forever and ever as Lord of Lords and King of Kings (Isa. 11:1-2; Matt. 24:29-30; I Thes. 4:13-18; II Thes. 2:1-12; I John 4:3; Rev. 3:10; 20:2-3,11-15).
We believe that both churches and individual Christians are called to a life of separation from apostasy, sin, and worldliness, and that this separation is in at least three areas:
Ecclesiastical Separation: While recognizing the unity of all true believers, we believe that churches must maintain standards and guidelines of separation (II Cor. 6:14-7:1; II Tim. 3:5; Jude 3,4). Practically, this means we believe that local churches do not cooperate with ecumenical activities such as cooperative evangelistic campaigns or interdenominational services. We believe that these only cause the diluting of truth and the confusion of church members. In this regard we are opposed to liberal theology, neo-orthodoxy, and new-evangelicalism. We desire to obey the Bible, which says to:
- Try them (I John 4:1).
- Mark them (Rom. 16:17).
- Rebuke them (Titus 1:13).
- Reject them (Titus 3:10).
- Withdraw yourself from them (II Thes. 3:6).
Moral Separation: Is the separation from any transgression of God’s moral law. God gives direct commands in His Word called moral absolutes, which unquestionably declare His will and purpose. Since sin is a transgression of God’s law, the Christian, in obedience to God, must separate from sin or transgression of those moral absolutes. We believe every Christian is called to a life of holy living, otherwise referred to as moral separation (I Peter 1:16). Examples of these absolutes include not killing, not stealing, not committing adultery, not lying, etc. (Ex. 20:1-20; Col. 3:1-17).
Personal Separation: This separation involves the believer’s response to the influence of the culture upon his life, or upon other believer’s lives with whom he interacts. It includes the examination of one’s words, conduct, activities, and even one’s appearance. It is the careful application of Biblical principles to the changes in culture which are not expressly mentioned in the Scriptures. This area is the practice of self-denial from things which are not sin in themselves (a violation of an absolute), but may bring reproach or dishonor to the cause of Christ. The following are six examples of some principles to guide in the area of personal separation:
- Expediency – Is it God’s best for me? (I Cor. 6:12; 10:23)
- Enslavement – Does it bind or restrict me? (I Cor. 6:12; Gal. 5:16-23)
- Edification – Does it build others? (Rom. 14:14-16, 19-15:2; I Cor. 10:23-30)
- Exaltation – Does it boast in God? (I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Col. 3:17)
- Equivocation – Does it bring doubt? (Rom. 14:23)
- Entanglement – Does it bring reproach? (Eph. 5:8-11; I Thes. 5:21-22)
This means we must maintain careful balance toward such things that lead to or are deemed worldly, such as social drinking (and other intoxicants or drugs), smoking, dancing, watching corruption both in the theater and on television, and other such things. Whereas the Scripture may not explicitly forbid these activities (and the like), we believe that the principles of separation listed above discourage participation in such activities.
We believe that civil government is ordained of God for the punishment of evildoers and for the protection of the good (Romans 13:1-7). We consider it our duty to pray for rulers and magistrates (I Tim. 2:1-3) and to be submissive and obedient to their authority, except in things clearly opposed to the will of God (Acts 4:19; 5:29; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13-14). We believe in the separation of church and state (Matt. 22:17-21).