What we value
We believe the Bible to be the written revelation of God, absolute and sufficient in every respect. This inspired word of God is without error and complete in its disclosure of God’s will for the salvation of man. We believe the Scriptures to be the very words of God written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They are therefore fully authoritative in and of themselves; their authority is not derived from any church, council, or creed, but are authoritative simply because they are the Word of God fully standing as its own self-attesting authority. The Scriptures, which contain sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, as they embody the very speaking of God, partake of His authority and His power.
We believe in one true and eternal God, unchanging and unchangeable. We believe God is the Creator of all that exists in heaven and earth. God, as described in the Bible, is distinct: He is unlike anyone or anything else in the entire universe. God has all power, all knowledge, all wisdom, and is due all glory, honor, and praise. That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance. All that comes to pass does so by the power of His decree. He governs all creatures and all events and does so, in no way, as to be the author or approver of sin, all without destroying the free will and responsibility of mankind to obey his commands. God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life is not because of any foreseen merit in them, but of His pure mercy in the work of Christ on the cross by which the believer is called, justified and glorified. All things will, in the end, result in the glory of God.
We believe the Bible teaches that there is but one being of God, yet there are three distinct Persons who equally share this one being of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each Person is fully and completely God, but without disunion of nature, essence or being, all while possessing recognizably different and personal attributes of God. Each person in the Godhead has eternally known, loved and glorified one another. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have eternally existed in the relationship described by the term “Trinity.” God is the Maker, Preserver, and Ruler of all things. He is perfectly holy and cannot partake in or endorse evil. He requires from us that we be holy as well, as beings created in His image.
God’s Plan of Redemption
We believe that man was created in the image of God. Man rebelled against His Creator in the garden and fell into sin through the first man Adam. Thus, both Adam and his progeny became spiritually dead, totally unwilling and indeed incapable of seeking after God. According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin. God’s holiness and perfect justice demand that all sin be punished. The wages of our sins is death. God, from eternity past, having foreordained all things, joined a certain people to Christ Jesus, so that He might redeem them from their sin and in so doing bring glory to Himself. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died in the place of this elect people, providing full and complete forgiveness of sins by His death upon the cross of Calvary. No other work can provide for forgiveness of sins, and no addition can be made to the completed and finished work of Christ making Him the Hero of all of human history.
We believe that God, in His sovereign grace and mercy, regenerates sinful men by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by any action of their own, bringing them to new life. Regeneration is a change of heart that is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God grants to them the gifts of faith and repentance, which they then exercise by believing in Christ and turning from their sins in love for God. True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. It is not enough to simply believe in Christ, for even Satan and the demons believe in the true God, but they do not love God and obey Him. As a result of this faith, based upon the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, God justifies, or makes righteous, the one who believes. God’s gift of faith and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the elect will result in love and obedience towards God. These good works flow from true, saving faith; they are a necessary result of faith but are not to be considered necessary to the gaining of justification, which is by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone, so that no man can boast.
We believe Jesus Christ established His Church, which is made up of all the elect of God. His Church, as an obedient bride, listens to His Word as found in the Bible. All who believe in Christ are placed in His body, the Church. The local expressions of the Church are very important, and each believer should be actively involved in such a fellowship.
The Return of Christ
We believe that Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. This promise is found throughout the inspired Scriptures. Until His return, believers are to live lives that bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. The Church is to be busy doing the work of evangelism and discipleship, proclaiming the pure, uncompromised Gospel of Christ by teaching the Word of God until He returns or calls us home.
While we hold these doctrines with a fairly tight fist, we joyfully and openly accept criticisms and critiques and are more than willing to be challenged on any of these. Our aim and goal is always to glorify God and be as consistent as possible in our understanding of Scripture. One way we can glorify God is by rightly handling and understanding His word that He has given us (2 Tim 2:15). The only reason we hold to and believe these things are because we deeply believe them to be doctrines taught in Scripture. We do not want to in any way force what we think to be attractive or progressive ideas on the eternal Word of God. We allow the Scripture to interpret our beliefs and never the other way around. We allow the word of God to change us and our ideas instead of taking what the world has taught us and forcing those ideas on Scripture (Rom 12:2). If you find fault in our teaching or doctrines, we humbly request you seek an audience with a church leader and wrestle carefully with these doctrines and what God’s word has to say about them, as we have.
We affirm God’s complete sovereign rule over all things in existence including the salvation and sanctification of men and women. We see this position as unavoidable, for even if we confess that it is man who decides as to whether or not they will accept the free gift of grace from God, God ultimately knew what that man or woman would decide and determined the outcome when He chose to create them. Either way, God is sovereign over whom shall be saved.
We believe there is great hope in the fact that before we had the opportunity to accomplish any good works or fall into the worst of sins, God chose, without the influence of any outside forces, to take specific people and make them “…holy and blameless before Him” (Eph 1:4-6). Because you had nothing to do with earning your salvation, it also means that there is nothing you could ever do to lose it. God will never stop loving you because there was never a moment in time that He started loving you but has instead had an eternal special love for His chosen people.
“The best proof that He will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.”
- Geerhardus Vos
We believe and teach what Jesus said in John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” “No one can come to [Jesus]…” because “…no one seeks for God” (Rom 3:11). In our fallen state we neither have the ability nor the desire to worship and love God as He truly is because “… there is none who does good” (Ps 53:1). It is the “Father who sent [Jesus]…” who “…draws…” the unregenerate man or woman to faith in Christ absent of any assistance from any outside forces “…for who can resist his will?” (Rom 9:19). “And [Jesus] will raise him up on the last day…” and not fail in this because “…no purpose of [God’s] can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). If God’s will cannot be thwarted, and His will is that “…[Jesus] should lose nothing of all that he has given [Him]…” then none whom God has predestined to save can fall from grace (Jn 6:39).
Those that appear to have fallen away from the church “… went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 Jn 2:19). Even the desire to love God and do good is a sovereign act of our creator “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). God is sovereign every step of the way “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom 8:30).
We believe and teach that men and women are equal as God’s fellow image bearers, but not interchangeable in their roles in the church and home (Gen 1:26-28). We are also fellow partakers in the grace of God with no special grace given to one gender over the other (Gal 3:28). In Ephesians 5 Paul gives some distinctions between man and woman in the context of marriage and how they are to fulfill their roles in marriage. The danger in diminishing the differences between man and women are central to the teaching of the Gospel according to the Apostle Paul. After explaining how the wife and husband are to love one another and reflect the beauty of the Gospel in their specific responsibilities, Paul says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32). If this picture of husband and wife is a God-ordained institution founded upon Christ’s death and resurrection for His church, we should avoid diminishing the distinctions God has made in the home.
Women played a significant role in the life and ministry of the early church in the writings of the New Testament. Priscilla and Aquila overheard Apollos teaching in the book of Acts and offered a correction to his teachings (Acts 18:24-26). Paul also says that they both saved his life by sticking their necks out for him (Rom 16:3-4). In Romans 16 Paul also goes on to give thanks and praise to about sixteen different helpers to his ministry, at least ten of whom are women. Women were even essential in providing for Jesus’ ministry (Luke 8:1-3). There should never be the question as to whether or not women and men have equal value in the church or whether or not they can minister effectively, but instead what will be the nature of their roles in the church. None of the instructions that are given for the office of pastor in the New Testament include instructions for women (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-7). Along with this, there is also text that strictly forbids women holding the role of pastor (1 Tim 2:12). We believe this teaching of man’s role in the church as an overseer to be consistent with scriptures teaching on man’s role in the home as well (Eph 5:21-24).
Baptism is an ordinance that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded that his people do (Matt 28: 19-28). We believe that baptism is no mere religious ritual or tradition that the Church has created nor does it unite us to Christ rather it is our faith that unites us to Christ. Baptism is instead the way in which we verbally affirm our faith, physically demonstrate our faith, and symbolically proclaim our burial with Christ as we go down into the water, and the newness of life we have with Him in His resurrection as we rise up out of the water (Rom 6:3-4).
The term Credo-Baptism comes from the Latin word creed. We believe that a person must make a confession of faith before being baptized instead of baptizing the children of believers. Scriptures on baptism have a consistent order where in which the believer is to repent, believe and be baptized (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Eph 4:5, Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12). It is clear from these scriptures that a believer is expected to be baptized after they believe and not through the confession of another on their behalf, for there is only one mediator between God and man who is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5).
We believe that all the spiritual gifts in scripture are still in operation in the church today just as they were in the early church. We see no sufficient scriptural reason to believe otherwise. The gifts may not be as much of a hallmark of God’s church today as they were during the time of the early church but there is no place in scripture where these gifts were told to have been limited to the apostles to validate their authority as there are accounts of non-apostles performing miracles such as Stephen and Philip (Acts 6:8, Acts 8:6-7). We in no way affirm emotion-fueled sensationalism that has sometimes been present in conjunction with those in the faith seeking to demonstrate the continued use of the spiritual gifts, but instead encourage that all gifts be used, “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).