What we believe.

Holy Scriptures

We teach that the Bible is God’s written self-revelation to man, and thus the sixty-six books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:6-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the literal, grammatical-historical, interpretation of Scripture that affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:1-31; Exodus 20:10-11; 31:17).

We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Psalm 19:7-8; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).

We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation (utilizing typical rules of grammar and seeking the historical context in which it was written) under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.

God

We teach that there is one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14) – each equally deserving worship and obedience.

God the Father

We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind.

As Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is the spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47; James 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ: He adopts as His own all those who come to Him: and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).

God the Son

We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9).

We teach that God the Father created all things according to His own will, through Jesus Christ His Son, by whom all things continue in existence and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).

We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing Son accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity, taking on an existence appropriate to a servant, while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes, thus becoming the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).

We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2, John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1,14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God (John 14:9; Hebrews 1:1), redeem men (John 1:29; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19), and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:9-11).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary (He willingly died for us, John 10:15-18), substitutionary (He died in our place, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 3:18), propitiatory (He adequately and thoroughly satisfied God’s wrath for our sin, (Romans 3:24-26; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), and redemptive (His death purchased us from sin’s bondage and set us free (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9).

We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believer is freed from the punishment (Romans 8:1-4), the power (Romans 6:5-11; 8:2-8), and one day the very presence of sin (Hebrews 1:3; 1 John 1:7; 3:2; Jude 1:24; Revelation 21:3-4); and that he is declared righteous (Romans 1:17; 4:5), given eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 5:11-13), and adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:15).

We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:24-25) and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 10:12), where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross (Acts 2:22-36; Romans 1:4). Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

We teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His body, unto Himself at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and, returning with His church in glory (Revelation 19:6-16), will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 20).

We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):
a.Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
b.Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46)
c.Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15)

As the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the head of His body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King, who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46; Acts 17:30-31).

God the Holy Spirit

We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine person Who is eternal and uncreated. He possesses all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes, He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4: 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; and Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17).

We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7).

We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47), when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration (giving spiritual life to people dead in their sins, 2 Corinthians 3:6), baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells believers (Romans 8:9-11), sanctifies, instructs, and empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine teacher who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible (John 16:13). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation (Romans 8:9-11), and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-25).

We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of proclaiming new divine revelation (1 Corinthians 14:1-33) and pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of that divine truth (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4), and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (Ephesians 2:20; 4:7-12).

Man

We teach that God directly and immediately created man in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; James 3:9). Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25).

We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).

We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence (Genesis 3:22), he incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 5:12; 6:23), and he became subject to the wrath of God (John 3:36). As a result of his sin, he became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace (Romans 3:10-20). With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3). Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:4-9).

We teach that because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages (Jesus Christ being the only exception). All men are thus sinners by nature (Psalm 51:5), by choice (Romans 3:10-20,23), by imputation (Adam’s original sin affected subsequent humans, Romans 5:10-12), and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9).

Salvation

We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Election

We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).

We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).

We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Romans 9:9-16; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7).

We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).

Regeneration

We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Ephesians 2:4-6; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (Romans 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). Regeneration precedes, and is demonstrated by, the sinner’s repentance and faith, as enabled by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:14; 1 John 5:1). Regeneration is due to the exercise of God’s will and not man’s (John 1:13; James 1:18). God causes sinners to be born again (1 Pet. 1:3).

Genuine regeneration manifests itself by fruits consistent with repentance. This is demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21ff; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-14; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).

Justification

We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He both remits all the sin of and declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ alone, repent of their sins (Isaiah 55:6-7; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the immediate imputation of our sins to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

God bestows the benefit of Christ’s work upon believing sinners, not because of anything experienced or done by them (Titus 3:5), even if it is a change in character that God Himself has produced. It is only because of His purpose to be merciful through the merits of Jesus Christ. Therefore, even though repentance always accompanies saving faith, and faith without repentance is not a sincere faith, no other gracious disposition can be included in faith as necessary to justification. All works of any kind are excluded. Faith itself is not a work but just the opposite—it is a ceasing from all works and reliance upon Christ alone. Its place in the reception of the benefits of Christ in our justification is purely instrumental, like an open hand receiving a gift. It is therefore not because of the quality of faith that God justifies the believing sinner. God justifies the ungodly through the merits of Christ because He is loving, merciful, and ready to forgive.

The Gospel

We teach that God’s electing purpose to save is realized through the proclamation of the gospel (Romans 10:14-17; 2 Corinthians 3:6). Salvation cannot take place apart from the truth of the gospel received and believed by the sinner (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12). Therefore, the gospel must be communicated (Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47). The gospel at its irreducible minimum is a message from God to humanity about the person and work of Jesus Christ, the relation of His person and work to our lost estate, His sincere offer of forgiveness and deliverance from sin and its punishment, and the promise of eternal life (Acts 2:22-36; 10:34-43; 17:22-31).

The biblical presentation of the gospel is always directed to the hearer with a certainty of its uniqueness and authority, and it is always accompanied by clear demands for faith and repentance (Acts 2:22-39; 16:29-31; 17:29-31; 26:19-29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-24).

Saving Faith

We teach that saving faith is believing what God has revealed in His word about Himself, humanity’s lost condition in sin, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the salvation that is offered through Christ; together with a heartfelt personal appropriation of that offered salvation by forsaking every other confidence, and exercising an unfeigned reliance upon Christ alone, trusting Him as one’s personal Savior and confessing him as Lord (Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16-17; 10:9; Ephesians 1:13; 2:8-10). Saving faith is not a mere profession of words void of any internal transformation of heart. True faith inevitably manifests itself in a transformed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; James 2:14-26; 1 John 2:4-11, 5:4,10-13).

Faith in Jesus Christ is a scriptural duty, the demand of which obligates all who hear and understand the gospel to immediately believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him for the salvation of their souls (Acts 16:29-31; 26:19-29; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

True Repentance

We teach that true repentance is a realization of the rightful claims of God upon one’s life that results in a recognition that one has failed to live up to those claims. This is coupled with a godly sorrow over this state of sin accompanied by a sincere desire and purpose to change (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). Simply put, it is a recognition of both one’s sinfulness and one’s sins, that leads to unfeigned endeavors to turn from sin and walk in the paths of obedience to the revealed will of God (Joel 2:12-13; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30-31).

True repentance is a change in attitude that always leads to a change in behavior that can be recognized by others (Jeremiah 31:18-19; Ezekiel 36:31). Ultimately, it is a change in direction in life away from sin and towards God (Nehemiah 9:17; Ezekiel 18:30-31; Hosea 14:1-2). It always accompanies saving faith and is founded only on the ministry of the Gospel (Acts 20:21). The lack of evidence of true repentance reveals either an absence of saving faith or that saving faith has fallen so low in its exercise as to be cause for great alarm, require self-examination, and potentially necessitate church discipline (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 John 3:2-10). The act of repentance is never to be relied upon as any cause of either the forgiveness of sins or the assurance of salvation, but it always joins saving faith (Acts 11:18; Romans 6:1-23; James 2:14-26).

Sanctification

We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; Hebrews 3:1). This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification (growing more mature in Christ and purging habits of sin, Acts 20:32). This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God (John 17:17,19; 1 Peter 1:22-23) and the empowering of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-8), the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-22; 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23).

In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict-the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh-but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25). The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended (Philippians 3:12-16). All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Complete eradication of sin in our earthly life is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Romans 7:14-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

Security

We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-47; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:24).

We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).

Separation

We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

We teach that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 3:20-4:7; Philippians 2:5-16). We also teach that God commands for us to separate ourselves from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices (1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 1:9-11).

We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness (Matthew 5:2-12; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:1-10).

The Church

We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).

We teach that the formation of the church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost (Act 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 3:10).

We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born–again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).

We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17,28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).

We teach that the one, supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

We teach that these leaders lead as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

We teach the mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14; Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:19-20), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).

We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external human authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 10:31). This is accomplished by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances of baptism and communion (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8).

We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service for the purpose of mutual edification in faith (Romans 1:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:4-8; 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Hebrews 10:25).

We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12) as well as unique and special abilities to each member of the body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

We teach that there were two kinds of spiritual gifts given to the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the Apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12), and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message. Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; Revelation 13:13-14). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).

We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church; baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41-41).
We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:23-32). We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).

Angels

Holy Angels

We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; Revelation 5:11-14).

Fallen Angels

We teach that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).

We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10), the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Romans 16:20), and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

Last Things

Death

We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), when soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).

We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:59; Revelation 20:13-15).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

The Rapture of the Church

We teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-17; Revelation 3:10) to rapture His church from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11). Between this event and His glorious return with His saints, he will reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).