The Bible – Bibliology
We believe that the 66 books (and only those 66 books: Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18-19) making up the Bible were authored by God speaking through men (Heb. 1:1-2, II Pet. 1:20-21); that these books were without error in the original manuscripts (II Pet. 1:20-21); that God so supervised the preservation and translation of the original manuscripts that we can have full confidence in accurate English versions we have today; that the Bible is the basis and standard for our beliefs and behavior (II Tim. 3:16-17); and its authority is that of the very words of God himself: complete, supreme and final (Matt 5:18, Psalm 119:89).
God – Theology Proper
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God (Isa. 45:5-7), who is an infinite, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful Spirit, and is the creator (Gen. 1:1, Eph. 3:9) and ruler of all things (Psalm 103:19). We further believe that in the unity (Deut. 6:4) of God there are three eternally equal persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), each having precisely the same nature and attributes but carrying out different roles.
God: The Father – We believe that God the Father is the first person of the Tri-unity (traditionally Trinity). His title describes both his position within the Tri-unity and his relationship with humans. As Creator he is Father of all (Eph. 4:6), but is Spiritual Father only to believers (Rom. 8:14, II Cor. 6:18).
God: The Son – Christology
We believe that God the Son is the second person of the Tri-unity. We believe that God the Son became a human being while remaining fully and eternally God (John 1:1-2, Phil. 2:5-7), being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:20-21, Luke 1:35) and taking the name Jesus (God saves)and the title of Christ (Messiah, Chosen One: John 1:41, John 20:31). We believe that Jesus lived a sinless life (II Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:15), validated his message by performing miracles (Acts 2:22), and was killed by crucifixion (Phil. 2:8). We believe that Jesus was buried, came back to life on the third day (bodily resurrection)(I Cor. 15:3-4, Acts 2:23-24), and ascended to heaven where he remains to this day (Eph 1:19-21). We believe that Jesus is the only mediator between God and each person (I Tim. 2:5), is the only way to a personal relationship with God (John 14:6), and is the Head of the Church (the universal body of believers, Eph. 1:22-23). We believe that one day Jesus Christ will return personally and bodily to the earth in power and glory (Acts 1:11) to reign over the earth (Luke 1:31-33, Rev. 11:15).
God: The Holy Spirit – Pneumatology
We believe that God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Tri-unity, works in the world to convict people of sin (John 16:7-11), to restrain evil (II Thess. 2:6-7), to glorify Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14), and to build up believers (II Cor. 3:18). We believe that at the moment an individual accepts the gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit regenerates (gives spiritual life) (John 3:5-7) and baptizes the person (makes them part of God’s family, called the body of Christ) (I Cor. 12:13). From that moment on the Holy Spirit lives within the believer (I Cor. 6:19, Eph. 2:22), teaching (John 16:13), sanctifying (making holy)(II Thess. 2:13), empowering (Acts 1:8), and preserving (guaranteeing that God’s promises to the believer will be fulfilled) (Eph. 1:13-14). We believe that the Holy Spirit alone gives and administers spiritual gifts to the Church (I Cor. 12:11), equipping each believer with at least one gift for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:7) and bringing glory to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14). We believe that the gifts of speaking in tongues and the working of miracles (healing, future prophecy etc.) were primarily for authenticating the message of the early church and were not intended to be characteristic of the lives of all believers (I Cor. 14:22, Heb. 2:1-4, II Cor. 12:12). We believe that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” (in which the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the life of the believer) is a one-time event that occurs at the moment of salvation. We hold that the power of the Holy Spirit is available for use from the moment of salvation and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available dependent on the decision and timing of the Holy Spirit. The true characteristic of a Spirit filled believer is not the performance of miracles but miraculously changed behavior as shown by the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace etc.) (Gal. 5:22-23).
Mankind – Anthropology
We believe that the first male (Adam) and female (Eve) were directly and immediately created by God as beings free of sin, having a likeness to God (“in His image”)(Gen. 2:7,22, Gen. 1:27). God’s intention was that humans would glorify Him, enjoy His fellowship and carry out His purposes on earth (Isa. 43:7, Gen. 2:15). Through the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve, the human race suffered physical and spiritual death, being cut off from a relationship with God (Gen. 3:17-19, I Cor. 15:22). Each succeeding person (with the exception of Jesus) has not only inherited Adam’s sinful nature but has also chosen to sin himself (herself). Therefore all humans are sinners and unable to alter their lost condition (Rom. 3:23, Eph. 2:1-3, Rom. 1:18-21).
Salvation – Soteriology
We believe that because a holy and perfect God cannot tolerate anything less than holy and perfect (Hab. 1:13); and because all humans are incapable of holiness or perfection; therefore all humans are (in and of themselves) without hope and are under sentence of death, doomed to an eternity separated from God and all good things (Rom. 3:23, Eph. 2:12, Rom. 6:23). We believe that God loved us so much He has provided a remedy for this problem through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17) who lived a perfect, sinless life (Heb. 4:15); then took our death sentence upon himself, being executed in our place and for our sins (I Pet. 2:24). God’s power restored Jesus to life (Eph. 1:19-20, John 10:17-18), thus triumphing over sin and death (Acts 2:24, I Cor. 15:54-57). We believe that salvation is by grace (an undeserved gift from God), through faith (belief in what God says and acceptance of what He offers) and not by mans’ works (i.e. individuals cannot earn or merit it by good deeds, high moral standards or religiosity) (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore, all who understand their sin, guilt and helplessness before God and repent of it; who accept the sacrifice of Jesus in their place; and who put trust in Jesus as their only Savior and Lord receive the following from God: reconciliation, whereby the broken relationship with God is restored (II Cor. 5:18-20); regeneration whereby the individual is given spiritual life (is ‘born again’ I Pet. 1:23, John 3:5-7); justification whereby God grants us the righteousness of Christ and declares that his justice has been satisfied (Rom. 3:22-26); adoption, whereby God makes us his children and joint heirs with Jesus Christ (I John 3:2, Rom. 8:23); sanctification, whereby God declares us holy (‘set apart’) and fit for heaven (I Cor. 1:2); and glorification, whereby at some future date we will join God in heaven to live with Him forever (Rom. 8:29-30). We believe that true repentance and salvation results in a changed life of obedience to God, made possible by the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and guides us (Rom. 8:9, John 14:26) and that those who have been truly saved cannot lose their salvation as it is given and maintained by the power of God himself (John 10:27-30).
The Church – Ecclesiology
We believe that all who put their trust in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (‘called out ones’) and that this body will one day be presented as the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-27). We believe that Jesus Christ is the Head and supreme authority over the Church (Eph. 1:22, Col. 1:18). We believe that it is primarily through the members of the Church that God’s message is proclaimed to the world (II Cor. 5:20); that this role as God’s ambassadors was originally given to the nation of Israel (Rom. 3:1-2, Exod. 19:5-6); that following the rejection of Jesus by Israel this role was transferred to the church (Matt. 21:43, Rom. 11:17-18); that God continues to have a plan and promises for the nation of Israel that are separate from those given to the church (Rom. 11:11-12, Heb. 8:8, Heb. 9:15); but that both those saved from the nation of Israel and from the Gentiles (non-Jews) will be united with God in heaven (Rom. 11:25-26, Matt. 19:28, Eph. 3:6). We believe that local groups of believers should band together (Heb. 10:25) under the Lordship of Jesus Christ in order to glorify God (Eph. 3:21); build each other up in the faith (Eph. 4:12-16); enjoy fellowship together (Acts 2:42-46); celebrate the two church ordinances (church ceremonies commanded by God): baptism (by immersion) (Matt. 28:19), and the Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:23-26); reach out with the gospel (good news) to the community and the world (Acts 1:8); and help as many of those in need as possible (I John 3:17, I Tim 5:16). We believe that equality, whether of race, gender, or social standing is commanded by God for all believers within the church (Gal. 3:2, James 2:2-4). We further believe that just as the persons of the Tri-unity are equal in essence (John 10:30, Phil. 2:6) but different in function (John 12:49, John 16:13), so God has commanded equality between men and women but assigned them different roles and authority. In both marriage (an officially recognized permanent relationship between one man and one woman: Mark 10:7-9) and the church, God commands men to lead, (not in dictatorial style but with loving servant-leadership)(I Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:25, Matt. 20:25-28,) and women to follow (not as slaves or doormats but with loving submission) (Eph. 5:22-24, I Cor. 14:34). Women are free to use the spiritual gifts given them by the Holy Spirit in ministry and service both to the church and the world but should, whenever possible, serve under the authority of male leaders and may not teach men from a position of authority (I Tim 2:12).
End Times – Eschatology
We believe that God designed the immaterial part of human beings (the spirit or soul) to continue existence following the death of the body (Matt 10:28, James 2:26); that upon physical death the souls of believers join Jesus Christ in heaven (Luke 23:43, II Cor. 5:8); and that there will be a reunion of the souls of believers with remade, glorified bodies (Phil. 3:21, I Cor. 15:42-44). We believe that there will be a personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ at an unknown future time (Matt. 24:36) to restore to life (resurrect) the bodies of those believers who have died and to take those of the Church still alive to be with him (called the rapture)(I Thess. 4:15-17); that there will be a 7 year period (called the tribulation) of God’s wrath poured out upon the earth (Rev. 16:1, Dan. 12:1); following which Jesus Christ will reign over the earth from the throne of David for 1000 years assisted by the saints (Luke 1:32-33, Rev. 20:4-6). During this millennial kingdom God’s promises to Israel regarding their land will be fulfilled (Eze. 37:21-28). There will be a final rebellion against God led by Satan after which there will be a final judgment. Those who have accepted God’s salvation will enjoy life eternal with God while those who have rejected God’s Son will be rejected by God and will suffer eternal punishment along with Satan and all his demons (Rev. 20:7-15). Although God has laid out for us in the Bible some of His plan for the future, He has not and will not tell us the timing of these events. Therefore, we are advised to be ready, since we do not know when the end will come (Mark 13:32-33).
Angels – Angelology
We believe that angels (messengers) are spiritual beings created by God (Col. 1:16) to serve and worship Him (Psalm 148:2) and assist with His purposes on earth (Heb. 1:14). We believe that one of the angels, Lucifer, rebelled against God because of pride and was thrown out of heaven (Isa. 14:12-14, Ezek. 28:12-17) thus becoming Satan (the enemy). In his rebellion Satan influenced a large group of angels to follow him, and these became demons (II Pet. 2:4). Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin (Gen. 3:1-5) and he and his demonic followers continue to tempt, oppress, and deceive the human race (Rev. 12:9, II Cor. 11:14, Mark 4:15). But Satan and his demons were defeated by Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection (Heb. 2:14); they can be resisted by believers through the power of the Holy Spirit (James 4:7, Eph. 6:10-11); and they are destined for eternal punishment (Rev. 20:10). Although they are powerful beings, angels and demons are not as powerful as God and should be neither feared nor worshipped, nor should Christians display an excessive interest in them (Matt 4:10).