What We Believe …
“... guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:14)
Scripture itself gives us ample precedent for summarizing and outlining in an orderly manner the non-negotiable elements of our faith. And the history of the Christian church since the first century is filled with such faithful creeds, confessions, and catechisms. Therefore, we are glad to proclaim at every opportunity, publicly and without apology, that which we most surely believe.
See, for example, Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 16:16; John 20:28; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
CONCERNING THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible (comprised of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments) was written by men who were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” and were “taught by the Spirit” and thus it “is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”—a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction. Its supreme author is God, its glorious end is salvation, and its sublime matter is Truth without any mixture of error. It reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore it is, and will always be to the end of days, the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, teachings, and opinions must be tried—the only sufficient, certain, and authoritative rule for faith and practice.
Psalm 19:7; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17; James 1:18; 2 Peter 1:21
We believe there is one, and only one, true and living God, who is the Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things, who has life in and of himself and all perfections, infinite in them all; to whom all creatures owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. He has eternally existed, in the unity of the Godhead, as three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom is fully God, equal in every divine perfection, but executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption; yet there is one God.
Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 3:22; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:4; Psalm 90:2; 147:5; Daniel 4:25, 34, 35; Matthew 5:48; 28:19; John 5:26; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 1:17; Philippians 4:20; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 4:11; 7:12
CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son incarnate, who in the fullness of time, was born of the virgin Mary, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, the God/man, “... born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons”—fully God and fully man, one person, two natures—who perfectly fulfilled the law’s preceptive demands in his life (“without sin”) and the law’s punitive demands in his death, was buried, and rose again on the third day, bodily vacating the grave forever. He ascended to the right hand of the Father, poured out the Holy Spirit in the world to apply his finished work of redemption, reigns now as both Lord and Christ with all authority in heaven and on earth, and he will one day return as he left to take his church to himself, that we may be where he is also. There is salvation in no other name.
Matthew 28:6-7, 18; Mark 16:6; Luke 1:26-35; 24:6, 34, 50-53; John 14:3; Acts 1:9-11; 2:33; 4:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 4:15; Revelation 1:17-18
CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God the Spirit, the divine third Person of the Trinity. He inspired the Holy Scriptures, superintending its human authors as they wrote. He convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. And he brings sinners to salvation through this work of conviction and through exalting Christ. He illumines the hearts and minds of believers to understand and apply the Scriptures, for the purpose of transforming us by the renewing of our minds. He is God’s guarantee and seal that the work God has begun in us he will finish. And he equips us, every believer, for meaningful ministry in the church and in the world, giving gifts as he wills.
John 16:8, 14; 17:17; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 12:4-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Peter 1:21
We believe humanity was created in the image of God in the historical persons of Adam and Eve, under the good and perfect law of God, as moral agents who were “able to stand, but free to fall,” who then by such voluntary transgression fell from their original holy and happy state; in consequence of which all humanity are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under God’s just condemnation to eternal ruin, without any defense or excuse.
Genesis 1:26-27, 31; 3:1-24; Romans 3:9-20; 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3
We believe that the salvation of sinners is available only through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, “and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures for all who repent and believe in him—heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior—is justification; that this justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is given, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer; whose perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us by God alone; that it brings us into a state of blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needed for time and eternity. We also believe that the blessings of this great salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept these blessings by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his or her own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel; which rejection involves him or her in an aggravated condemnation.
Matthew 11:21-24; 23:37; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:34; Acts 2:37-39; 4:12; Romans 3:24, 26; 4:5; 5:1, 9; 8:32; 10:10; Galatians 2:16; 3:24; Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:3
We believe that all who savingly entrust themselves to Christ Jesus enter a process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness through a progressive work that is begun in regeneration and carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who is the Sealer and Comforter, through the continual use of the appointed means of grace—especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer.
Acts 26:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 10:14; 13:12
CONCERNING ETERNAL SECURITY
We believe that only they are true believers who endure to the end; that their persevering faith in and following of Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from false professors; that a special providence of God watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 John 2:19; Jude 1:24; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21
CONCERNING THE CHURCH
We believe that a true visible and local church of Christ is a congregation/assembly of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by his laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Its only biblical officers are Pastors/Elders and Deacons, both of whose qualifications, claims, and duties are principally defined in the New Testament letters to Timothy and Titus.
Matthew 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 3:1-15; 4:14; 1 Peter 5:1-4
We believe that Christian baptism is by immersion of the believer in water, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; to show, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and to confess our own death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ; and that such baptism is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to participation in the Lord’s Supper. While baptism is not saving, it is a public act of love and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 3:13-17; 28:18-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12
CONCERNING THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is an ordinance given to the church by Jesus Christ to remember his sacrifice for us in the new covenant. The elements of bread and wine/juice are symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood, and the sacred meal both looks back to the Passover as well as looks ahead to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It does not save, but testifies to our faith and hope in the atoning work of the cross. To these great ends, it is preceded always by solemn self-examination.
Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:23-29
CONCERNING CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
We believe that not joining a local and visible church is dangerous. We are sinful people, and therefore we simply cannot trust ourselves. By joining a church, we ask others to hold us accountable to live as Christians and, if necessary, even to discipline us if we are not living as Christians. And we believe that joining a church brings glory to God, because God displays his wisdom and glory through the church. In fact, joining the church identifies us with Christ.
Proverbs 12:1; Acts 9:4-5; Ephesians 3:10
CONCERNING THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability to fulfill its precepts, which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen sinners, arises entirely from their love of sin. The Law thus first is obliged to condemn and convict us, to drive us to the Gospel. But once we have come to the Gospel, repented, and believed, then the Gospel sends us back to the Law, which is then free in Christ to become the means of grace it’s also meant to be, to lead us to live lives worthy of the gospel to the glory of God.
Ezekiel 36:27; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:20, 31; 7:7; 13:8-10; Galatians 3:21; James 2:8, 10-12
CONCERNING EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
We believe it is the blessed duty and great privilege of every follower of Christ, and of every church of the Lord Jesus, to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of every believer by God’s Holy Spirit means also the birth of love in him or her for others. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations, beginning right where we are. And it is the calling of every child of God to seek always to reach the lost by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by all other methods in harmony with, and not contrary to, the gospel of Christ, to the glory of God.
Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:6-8; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17
CONCERNING THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only they who through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among all, not only in life, but both in and after death.
Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 14:32; Malachi 3:18; Matthew 7:21; 25:34, 41; Luke 16:25; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 4:3-8; 1 John 3:7
CONCERNING THE WORLD TO COME
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final judgment; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be judged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of all in heaven or hell, on principles of God’s perfect righteousness.
Matthew 16:27; 25:31-36; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 13:11; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-12; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; Revelation 3:11
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