Articles of Faith
The Triune God The Bible Mankind
Salvation The Church The Last Things
Articles of Practice
Ordinances Divine Healing The Lord's Day Christian Stewardship
Dedication of Children Marriage & the Home Divorce
Practices & Conduct Attitude toward Civil Government
Attitude toward Strife & Military Service Oaths
1. The Triune God
a. We believe that the one and only true God is Spirit: self‑existent, infinite, personal, unchangeable, and eternal in His being; perfect in holiness, love, justice, goodness, wisdom, and truth; omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; Creator and Sustainer of all things, visible and invisible; both immanent and transcendent to creation; eternally existent in three persons, one in substance and co‑equal in power and glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Gen.1:1; Ex. 3:14, 34:6; Deut. 6:4, 32:4; 1 Kings 8:27; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 90:2, 103:8, 116:5, 147:5; Isa. 6:3, 40:28, 57:15; Jer. 23:23-24; Mal. 3:6; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24, 14:16; Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 8:4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Col. 1:17; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 1:2, 12 and 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 4:10‑16
b. We believe that the Father is begotten of none. He is the eternal Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Author of salvation, the Father of all who are born into newness of life through faith in Christ.
Gen. 1:1; Ps. 90:2; John 13:3, 16:28; Eph. 1:3-4; 1 Pet. 1:2-3; 1 John 2:23, 3:1
c. We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ; in His eternal generation from the Father; in His incarnation by which He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, thus uniting the divine and human natures in their completeness into the one unique person of Jesus Christ; in His sinless life and miraculous works; in His vicarious death to make atonement for the sins of the world; in His bodily resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father; in His sovereign power and lordship; in His present mediatorial ministry as the believer's Advocate; in His second coming in power and glory.
Isa. 53:6; Matt. 28:18‑20; Luke 1:35; John 1:1,14,18; Acts 2:22, 24‑32; Rom. 1:3-4, 8:34; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 1:19‑22; Col. 3:4; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:8, 4:15, 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:18, 2:22 and 24, 3:18; 1 John 2:1-2
d. We believe that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the triune God, proceeding from the Father and sent by the Son, is one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternally God. His office and work is to reprove or convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; to regenerate those who repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; to sanctify, empower, teach, guide, and comfort the believer.
The Scriptures reveal the work of the Holy Spirit in the church to be that of uniting believers into the body of Christ, possessing it as the temple of God, equipping it with gifts and graces for service, giving it the body of inspired truth and imparting to it the spirit of illumination and guidance into all truth, and presiding over and guiding the church into the will of God.
Matt. 28:19; Luke 24:49; John 3:5-6, 14:16‑18 and 26, 15:26, 16:7‑14; Acts 1:8, 2:1‑4, 13:2‑4, 15:28; Rom. 12:6‑8; 1 Cor. 2:10‑12, 6:19-20, 12:4‑11, 12:13; 2 Cor. 6:16, 13:14; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 2:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:13; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 John 2:20‑27
2. The Bible
We believe that the Bible, consisting of the sixty‑six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God given by divine inspiration and is inerrant in the original manuscripts. The Bible today remains the unchanging authority in matters of Christian faith and practice. It is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses. (See Position Paper IX: "Biblical Inerrancy.")
Ps. 119:9, 89, 105; Matt. 24:35; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:25; 2 Pet. 1:21
a. Creation. We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution. Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God, possessing personality and holiness; in their original state Adam and Eve enjoyed sweet fellowship with God, the purpose of their creation being that they might glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Because all people have been created in the likeness of God they are self‑conscious personalities capable of free and rational choice.
Gen. 1:27; Eph. 1:5-6
b. The Fall. We believe that our first parents did not remain in the happy state of their original creation, but, being deluded through the subtlety of Satan, voluntarily disobeyed the positive command of God, and thus were alienated from God and incurred upon themselves and their posterity the sentence of death both physical and spiritual. Even the earth was cursed because of Adam's sin. In consequence of this act of disobedience, the entire human race has become so corrupted that in every heart there is by nature that evil disposition which eventually leads to responsible acts of sin and to just condemnation. Also through the fall of Adam, people have become so completely ruined that they have neither will nor power to turn to God and if left to themselves would remain in their sin forever.
Gen. 3:13, 16-17; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 7:7ff.; 1 John 1:8
c. His Redemption. We believe that God has provided redemption for everyone through the mediatorial work of Christ, who voluntarily offered Himself on Calvary as a perfect sacrifice for sin, the just suffering for the unjust, bearing sin's curse and tasting death for everyone.
John 10:17-18; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:15, 2:5-6; Tit. 2:11-12; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:18
We believe since all people are sinners and guilty before God and are dead in trespasses and sin and therefore are unable to save themselves, God has out of His infinite love given His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to become their Savior.
Matt. 1:21; John 3:14‑17, 6:44; Rom. 3:10‑12, 19, 20, 23; Eph. 2:1‑3, 8-9
a. Repentance. We believe that genuine repentance is a necessary attitude and act of one’s will that makes it possible for a holy and just God to forgive one's sins. As an attitude it involves a knowledge of, a change of mind toward, and a godly sorrow for sin; a proper reverence for God's holiness; and a surrender to God. As an act it means confessing and forsaking sin. Repentance is one's appropriate response to the grace of God in conviction. As a fruit of repentance, insofar as possible where sin has been committed against another, restitution should be made.
Ps. 51:3-4; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 6:1‑5, 55:6-7; Matt. 3:2 and 8, 4:17; Luke 13:3, 15:18, 18:13, 19:8; John 16:8‑11; Acts 11:18; Rom. 2:4, 10:9-10; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:25
b. Faith. We believe faith must accompany repentance and is the act of the will whereby one embraces the promises of God and appropriates to oneself personally the provisions of God's grace. It is resting in the completeness and adequacy of the atoning merit of Christ's sacrifice as the sole ground and hope of salvation. Faith must be active throughout the life of the believer and must manifest itself in obedience and good works.
Acts 13:38-39, 16:31; Rom. 4:3, 5:1; Eph. 2:8‑10; Heb. 11:6; James 2:17
c. Justification and Regeneration. We believe that when the requirements of repentance and faith have been met, God justifies and regenerates the sinner. Justification is a judicial act absolving from guilt and punishment and restoring to divine favor. Justification has to do with the changing of the sinner's standing before God. Regeneration has to do with the changing of the sinner's nature through the impartation of divine life. Regeneration is a spiritual quickening, a new birth. This experience is witnessed to by the indwelling Holy Spirit who produces in the heart a desire to do the will of God.
John 3:3 and 5, 5:24; Acts 22:10; Rom. 5:1 and 9, 4:4-5, 8:16 and 33; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:1; 2 Pet. 1:4
d. Sanctification and Filling with the Holy Spirit. We believe that sanctification is the work of God in making people holy. It is the will of God. It is provided in the atonement, and is experienced through faith by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the Word and the blood. While the divine work of making people holy begins in repentance and regeneration, yet through a subsequent crisis experience the believer is to die to self, to be purified in heart, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that he may be separated wholly unto God to serve Him in righteousness and holiness. After the crisis experience, the believer is to be perfected in holiness in the fear of God and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ps. 4:3; John 17:17; Acts 15:8-9; Rom. 6:19 and 22, 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 2:20, 6:14; Eph. 5:26; Col. 3:3, 1 Thess. 4:3, 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:2 and 15-16; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 5:6
e. Resurrection and Glorification. We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, and that because He lives we too shall live. The Scriptures teach that at the return of the Lord the bodies of the righteous dead will be raised and the living believers with them shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and will be changed so that both will have literal, spiritual, and immortal bodies like unto Christ's own glorious body. Our glorification is God's final act in our salvation and will be realized when we see Him as He is.
1 Cor. 15:3‑8 and 19‑23; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:14‑17; 1 John 3:2
5. The Church
a. We believe that the invisible and universal church is an organism composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who have been called out from the world, separated from sin, and vitally united by faith to Christ, its living Head and sovereign Lord.
1 Cor. 12:12‑27; Eph. 1:22-23, 4:15-16; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23
b. We believe that the visible and local church is an organized body of believers in Christ who are voluntarily joined together, and who meet at regular times for teaching in the Word, fellowship of the saints, observance of the ordinances, administration of discipline, exercise in prayer, and participation in public worship and evangelism.
Matt. 18:15‑17; Acts 2:42, 46, 47 and 20:7; 1 Cor. 5:1‑4, 16:2
c. We believe the characteristic marks of the members of the true church are faith in Jesus as the Son of God, love for God and for those of like faith, obedience to God's commandments, and victory over the world.
John 13:35; 1 John 3:14, 4:2, 5:1‑5
d. We believe the primary duties of the church consist of glorifying God and exalting the Lord Jesus Christ, of building itself up in the most holy faith, and of preaching the Gospel in all the world as a witness to all men.
Matt. 28:18‑20; Acts 1:8, 20:32; Eph. 1:5-6, 3:21, 4:11‑16; 1 Pet. 4:11; Jude 20-21
6. The Last Things
a. The Return of Christ. We believe that the second coming of Christ is the hope of the church and will be personal, bodily, visible, premillennial, and redemptive. His return, for which we must be constantly prepared, is a source of encouragement and consolation, a motive for pure and holy living, and an inspiration for ministry and mission. Christ will descend into the clouds, where His church, the waiting bride, will be caught up to meet Him. Subsequently, He will return to earth with His church to judge and rule the entire world.
Matt. 24:14, 36-51, 25:1-13; Mark 13:10, 32‑37; Luke 21:27-28; John 14:1‑3; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:58; Col. 3:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11; Tit. 2:12-13; Heb. 9:28; James 5:7-8; 1 John 2:28-3:3; Rev. 1:7, 22:12-13.
b. The Tribulation. We believe that in the final years of this present age an unprecedented time of intensified persecution and divine judgments will occur worldwide. This period of “great tribulation” will culminate with the coming of Christ who will triumph at the Battle of Armageddon, subdue evil and fully establish His kingdom on earth.
Matt.24:15-31; 1 Cor.15:24-25; 2 Thess.2:1-10; Rev.6:1-19:21
c. The Millennium. We believe that after Christ returns with His church, He will reign on earth for a thousand years. During this period, Satan will be bound and Christ will demonstrate His sovereign power over evil by ruling the world in righteousness.
Ps.2:7-9, 98:9; Isa.9:3-7, 11:6-9; Dan.7:13-14; Rev. 20:1-6
d. The Judgments. We believe that no condemnation awaits those in Christ who by faith were judged as sinners at the cross and have passed out of death into life. However, as children in the family of God, they are being disciplined and chastened during this lifetime as God conforms them to the image of His Son. Their lives and works will be judged for rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those without faith in Christ will appear before God for final judgment and condemnation at the Great White Throne.
Ps.96:13; Eccl.12:14; Matt.25:14-46; John 5:24; Rom.8:1, 29; 1 Cor.3:8-15, 4:2-5, 11:32; 2 Cor.5:10; 2 Tim.4:8; Heb.9:27, 12:5-8; Rev.20:11-15
e. The Eternal State. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead to one of two eternal destinies—heaven or hell. Ultimately, all unbelievers will be justly sentenced to eternal conscious punishment in hell together with Satan and all his angels. All believers in Christ will live forever, experiencing eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace.
Isa.65:17, 66:22; Dan.12:2; Matt.25:42, 46; Mark 9:42-48; John 5:28-29, 14:1-3; Eph. 1:3-14; Phil. 3:20-21; 2 Thess.1:8-9; 2 Pet.3:13; Rev.14:9-11, 20:10-15, 21:1-22:7
Articles of Practice
The Christian ordinances are two in number, baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are the outward rites appointed by Christ to be administered in each local church, not as means of salvation, but as visible signs and seals of its reality.
a. Baptism. We believe that baptism by water is the symbol of one's union by faith with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection, and constitutes the public confession of these spiritual realities to the world and is the answer of a good conscience toward God. Baptism is therefore to be administered by immersion to those who have been born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and who give evidence of the genuineness of their salvation.
Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38‑41, 8:36‑39; Rom. 6:3‑5; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21; compare Mark 16:16
b. The Lord's Supper. We believe the Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ Himself on the night of His betrayal. We believe that it is as a memorial of Christ's death, a center of communion and fellowship, a testimony to saving faith, and a visible seal of Christ's redemptive covenant. It is to be observed only by the children of God and consists in partaking of the consecrated emblems of bread and the fruit of the vine, which symbolize the death of Christ for the remission of our sins and our continual dependence upon Him for life and sustenance until He comes. While the Lord's Supper is open to all true believers regardless of denomination, each one is strongly exhorted to "examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup."
Matt. 26:26‑30; Luke 22:15‑20; 1 Cor. 10:16, 11:23-24
2. Divine Healing
In the redemptive work of Christ provision has been made for man's physical healing. This benefit may be realized by God's children on the basis of the conditions set forth in God's Word.
Gen. 3:16‑19; Job 2:7; Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 8:16-17; Mark 6:13; Acts 10:38; James 5:13‑16; 1 Pet. 2:24; compare Mark 16:17-18
3. The Lord's Day
The Lord's Day is of divine origin. The Jewish Sabbath was obligatory upon those who lived under the Jewish economy. Desecration of this day invoked the wrath and judgment of God. In this present age the first day of the week has been set aside as the Lord's Day for rest and worship. This observance is commended to the followers of the Lord Jesus in commemoration of His glorious resurrection. The first day of the week has been kept as the Lord's Day by the church from apostolic times. It is imperative that with great care and godly fear we honor the Lord's Day.
John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; compare Gen. 2:1‑3; Ex. 20:8‑11; Num. 15:32‑36
4. Christian Stewardship
a. God's ownership of all things creatively and redemptively is unquestioned in the Scriptures. Since we are saved by grace and the death of Christ provided our ransom, our whole being, body, soul, and spirit should be freely given to God, which is our reasonable service.
b. Not only does God claim our love and devotion, but He has made us stewards of what we have in time, talent, and temporal goods. Since giving of our means to support the Lord's work is a scriptural injunction and an act of worship received and memorialized by our Lord, and since tithing antedates the Mosaic Law, was confirmed in the Law, and was approved by our Lord Jesus Christ, and since the New Testament clearly indicates that our giving is to be proportionate, believers are encouraged to adopt the system of tithing their income as a minimum expression of their stewardship. Our stewardship in material things is to be motivated by the spirit and example of our Lord who freely gave Himself for us all.
Gen. 14:20, 28:22; Mal. 3:8, 10; Matt. 23:23; Acts 4:32; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:9, 9:6-7
5. Dedication of Children
We believe that the Scriptures teach the divine concern for the well‑being of little children and their commitment to God. We, therefore, heartily encourage the formal dedication of little children in a public service of the church.
1 Sam. 1:24‑28; Matt. 19:13‑15
6. Marriage and the Home
a. Marriage is a sacred institution ordained of God and is an indissoluble union of one husband (born male) and one wife (born female) until parted by death. Marriage, which is the foundation of the family and the Christian home, should only be entered into in the fear and will of God. Accordingly, a believer should not be united in holy matrimony with an unbeliever.
Gen. 2:24; Deut. 7:3; Matt. 19:4‑6; 1 Cor. 7:7, 39; 2 Cor. 6:14‑17
b. Ministers and parents have an obligation to teach the sanctity of marriage and to warn against believers being yoked with unbelievers. Ministers should not knowingly officiate at the marriage of a believer and an unbeliever.
c. Ministers are forbidden from encouraging, blessing, or officiating same sex “marriages” or unions.
Gen. 2:24; Lev. 18:22; Matt. 19:4,5; Rom. 1:26,27; 1 Cor. 6:9,10
d. The home is a divinely ordained institution in which the husband is the head but serves its members by the law of love. Filial obedience is to be rendered by children in the spirit of mutual respect and love. The home is the most important institution in which to nurture children in the faith, and great care is to be exercised by pastors and parents in building homes that are genuinely and consistently Christian.
Deut. 6:4‑9; Ps. 78:4‑6; Eph. 5:22 and 25, 6:1‑4; Col. 3:18‑21
Divorce is viewed in the Scripture as contrary to God's will. Christians shall seek by forbearance and forgiveness to preserve the marriage bond.
Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15-16; Matt. 5:31-32, 19:3‑12; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:10‑16
a. Persons divorced and remarried who give evidence of being genuinely born again are eligible to be received into membership of the church.
b. Divorce between members of the church is an occasion of great tragedy. Such conduct brings the teaching and reality of Christian reconciliation under reproach and offenders are to be disciplined.
The church board shall direct the deacons or a special commission to counsel with the offenders and recommend proper disciplinary action to the church board, giving consideration to appropriate aspects of Article XIII.C.3.
Care should be exercised that such action be as redemptive as possible for all parties involved.
c. Ministers are to refrain from performing marriage ceremonies where one or both parties are divorced, except where adultery of the previous marriage partner is involved. Where such persons are recognized as living genuine Christian lives, and where there is good evidence that a true Christian marriage is intended, ministers are permitted at their discretion to solemnize the marriage.
d. See Article XII.E.2.d. on qualifications of ministers.
8. Practices and Conduct
The Scriptures clearly command that believers are not to be conformed to the worldview and lifestyle of the world of which they are a part, but, on the contrary, are to function as salt to prevent the spread of moral corruption and as light to dispel spiritual darkness. It is therefore imperative that they set high standards for their personal and collective life including the following:
a. Their disposition and attitudes be characterized by godliness and the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self‑control;
b. Their social relationships bear witness to Christ, their entire conduct reflecting the spiritual ideals of Christianity rather than the world; they shall not marry unbelievers, shall not hold membership in oath‑bound, secret societies and shall not compromise Christian principles in partnerships; and
c. Their bodies be treated as temples of the Holy Spirit thus making it inconsistent with both Christian testimony and sound principles of health to injure their influence or bodies by the use of tobacco, intoxicating beverages, narcotics and other harmful products.
Isa. 5:22; 1 Cor. 6:12, 19-20; 2 Cor. 6:14‑7:1; Gal. 5:18‑26; 1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:2‑4
9. Attitude Toward Civil Government
We believe that civil government is ordained of God for the welfare of society to promote and protect the good and to restrain and punish evil. Therefore, we consider it the duty of Christians to pray for rulers and for those that are in authority over them and to give due loyalty, respect, and obedience to them. Christians are also encouraged to take an active interest in government at all levels. Where the demands of civil law would militate against the supreme law and will of God, Christians should “obey God rather than men.”
Dan. 4:17; Matt. 22:17‑21; Acts 4:19, 5:29; Rom. 13:1‑4; 1 Tim. 2:1‑4; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-14
10. Attitude Toward Strife and Military Service
a. We believe that the teaching of Scripture enjoins believers to love their enemies, to do good to them that hate them, to overcome evil with good, and inasmuch as possible, live peaceably with everyone. Therefore, we conclude that it is not fitting for the Christian to promote strife between nations, classes, groups, or individuals.
b. We recognize that sincere Christians have conscientious differences as to their understanding of the teaching of the Word of God with reference to their responsibility as Christian citizens to human government both in times of war and times of peace. We therefore exercise tolerance and understanding, and respect the individual conscience with regard to participation in war.
c. We further urge upon all the responsibility of searching the Scriptures with open heart and mind that their position may truly be one of Christian conviction and not of expediency.
d. Pastors are advised to instruct their churches and particularly their youth on the teaching of the Scriptures regarding war and its evils, and to seek to give guidance in the Word to those subject to call in the service of their country.
Matt. 5:43-44; Rom. 12:18 and 20-21, 13:1‑14
We believe a Christian's life should be so transparent in its honesty and integrity that one’s word can be fully trusted without the swearing of a formal oath. A judicial oath may be taken without violation of the Scriptures; however, affirmation is encouraged.
Ex. 20:7; Matt. 5:33‑35, 37; Jas. 5:12; compare Rom. 1:9, 9:1-2; Heb. 6:13‑18