15 Doctrinal Statement
[Underlining deliniates the present doctrinal statement from the purposed statement]
Article 5 – Statement of Faith and church Covenant
Section A. Statement of Faith
Recognizing that the Bible is the very Word of the Living God to man, and understanding the priority of knowing and obeying its truths, Missionary Baptist Church is committed to teaching Scripture with diligence and authority.
Thus, Missionary Baptist Church is continuously imparting biblical truth to the people of God that they may become equipped to do the work of the ministry.
This statement presents our convictions regarding the theological truths of the Bible, built on the foundation of similar doctrinal statements as well as the historical position of Missionary Baptist Church. They are the primary doctrines of the Christian faith, and they reflect the heart of the teaching of Missionary Baptist Church.
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe.
Concerning the Scriptures: We believe that the Holy Bible was written inerrant in its original languages by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction (1); that it has God for its Author, salvation for its end (2); and truth without any mixture of error, for its matter (3); that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us (4); and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the true center of Christian union (5); and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried (6).
(1) 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; (2) 2 Tim. 3:15; (3) Prov. 30:5, 6; (4) Rom. 2:12; (5) Phil. 3:16; (6) 1 John 4:1.
We teach that the Bible is God's written 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 (1Corinthians 2:7 14; 2 Peter 1:20 21).
We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 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, and historical interpretation of Scripture.
We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and is sufficient for all of man’s needs (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 directed 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 (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, and historical method of interpretation 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.
Concerning the True God: We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent, perfect Spirit and personal Being, the Creator, Preserver, and supreme Ruler of the universe (1); Inexpressibly glorious in holiness (2); and all other perfections, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love (3); that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (4); equal in every Divine perfection (5); and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (6).
(1) John 4:24; (2) Ex. 15:11; (3) Mark 12:30; (4) Matt. 28:19; (5) John 10:30; (6) Eph. 2:18.
We teach that there is but 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, distinct in function, and 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 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), 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 created all things according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, 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 prerogatives of deity but nothing of degree or kind in deity.
We teach that, in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, assumed the place of a Son, and took on an existence appropriate to a servant (Philippians 2:5 8).
In His incarnation, the eternally existing second Person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became 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).
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, redeem men, and reveal permanently the redeemed rule of God's kingdom (Psalm 2:7 9; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:29; Philippians 2:9 11; Hebrews 7:25 26; 1 Peter 1:18 19; Revelation 5:1-14).
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, vicarious, substitutionary, and propitiatory, imputing righteousness and redemption (John 10:15; Romans 3:24 25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).
We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38 39; Acts 2:30 31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; 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 He has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26 29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 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, and returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9 11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13 18; Revelation 20).
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22 23):
1.Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10 15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
2.Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31 46).
3.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). We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8 9; 2 Corinthians 5:14 15; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
God the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing 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 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, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 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. Every believer possesses the full indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be fully in (submitted to) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19 21; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, 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; 1 Corinthians 12:4 11; 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 and that the working of sign miracles, including new revelation (prophecy), in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4 11; 13:8 10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7 12; Hebrews 2:14). Therefore, we are not in agreement with many modern day Charismatic practices concerning the Spiritual gifts.
We teach that God has revealed His triunity (1 Corinthians 11:1-3) and relationship with the redeemed universal church in part through the union and function of marriage (Ephesians 5:25). It is clear that a marriage is to display the protection of headship and provision of a man united to a woman who is displaying functional submission and compliment to her husband (Genesis 1-3).
We therefore teach that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one natural man and one natural woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.
Pertaining to marriage we teach:
1.That God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. That any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s chromosomal created gender, is sinful and offensive to God (Romans 1:18-32).
2.That in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.
3.That every person must be afforded compassion, love, and care. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church (Matthew 9:10-13). Such love, compassion, and care must include clear biblical exhortation to repent of sin and be conformed to the image and will of Jesus Christ.
Concerning the Fall of Man: We believe that man was created by the special act of God, as recorded in Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7. We believe that man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his Maker (1); but through the temptation of Satan he voluntarily transgressed and fell from his holy state (2); in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners (3); not by constraint, but choice (4); being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin (5); without defense or excuse (6).
(1) Gen. 1:27; (2) Gen 3: 6-24; (3) Rom. 5:19; (4) Is. 53:6; (5) Eph. 2:13;
(6) Ez. 18: 19-20.
We teach that man was created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15 25; James 3:9).
We teach that God's intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God's purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; 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; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man's salvation is thereby wholly of God's grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16 17; 3:1 19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1 3; 1 Timothy 2:13 14; 1 John 1:8).
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 exception due to miraculous conception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine definition (Psalm 14:1 3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9 18, 23; 5:10 12).
Concerning the Way of Salvation: We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace (1); through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God (2); who pre-existed (3); and Who, by the appointment of the Father, and Who, by the Holy Spirit was conceived, and born of the virgin Mary, freely took upon Him man’s nature, yet without sin (4); honored the divine law by His perfect obedience (5); and after a miraculous ministry, by His death made a full atonement for our sins (6); that having risen from the dead bodily He is now enthroned in Heaven (7); to reign in eternal sovereignty and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with Divine perfections, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and all-sufficient Savior and Lord (8).
(1) Eph. 2:8; (2) John 3:16; (3) John 8:58; (4) Phil. 2:6,7; (5) Heb. 5:7,8 (6) Is. 53:4,5; (7) Heb. 1:8; (8) Heb. 7:25.
Concerning the Freeness of Salvation: We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel (1); that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith (2); and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel (3); which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation (4).
(1) Is. 55:1; (2) Rom. 16:25,26; (3) John 5:41; (4) John 3:19
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).
Concerning Repentance and Faith: We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God (1); whereby, being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ (2); we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy (3); at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as the only and all-sufficient Savior (4).
(1) Mark 1:15; (2) John 16:8; (3) Luke 18:13; (4) Rom. 10:9-11
Concerning God’s Purpose of Grace: We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God [eternally purposed by God], according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners (1); that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of men, it comprehends as well as embraces all the means in connection with the end (2); that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable (3); that it utterly excluded boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active initiation of His free mercy (4); that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree (5); that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel (6); that it is the foundation of Christian assurance (7); and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence (8).
(1) 2 Tim. 1:8, 9; (2) 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; (3) Ex. 33:18, 19; (4) 1 Cor. 4:7; (5) 2 Tim. 2:10; (6) 1 Thess. 1:4-10; (7) Rom. 8:28-31; (8) 2 Peter 1:10, 11.
We teach that God has ordained before the foundation of the world, those whom He graciously regenerates, justifies, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28 30; Ephesians 1:4 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10).
We teach that a biblical understanding of 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; Romans 9:22 23; 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 (Ephesians 1:4 7; Titus 3:4 7; 1 Peter 1:2).
We teach that election should not be looked upon as tyrannical. 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 incarnate and inspired revelation (Matthew 11:25 28; 2 Timothy 1:9).
Concerning Grace in Regeneration: We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated or born again (1); that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the soul (2); that it is effected, in a manner above our comprehension, by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth (3); so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel (4); and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life (5).
(1) John 3:3; (2) 2 Cor. 5:17; (3) John 3:8; (4) 1 Peter 1:22-25; (5) Eph. 5:9
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which new spiritual nature and life are given (Romans 5:18; 6:5-11; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrument of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19 20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in his life through faithful obedience to the will of God (Ephesians 5:17 21; Philippians 2:12b; 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 (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's appearing (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2 3).
Concerning Justification: We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ (1); secures to such as believe in Him is justification (2); that justification includes the pardon of sin, (3); and the promise of eternal life on the principles of righteousness (4); that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood (5); by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God (6); that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity (7).
(1) John 1:16; (2) Acts 13:39; (3) Rom. 5:9; (4) Rom. 5:17; (5) Rom. 4:4,5; (6) Rom. 5:19; (7) Rom. 5:1,2
We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6 7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9 10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (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 both "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
Concerning Sanctification: We believe that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness (1); that it is a progressive work (2); that it is begun in regeneration (3); and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers throughout their earthly life, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means, especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer (4).
(1) 1 Thess. 4:3; (2) Prov. 4:18; (3) 1 John 2:29; (4) Phil. 2:12,13.
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy, and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer's standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 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 personal obedience to the Word of God, empowering of the Holy Spirit, and edification and accountability of the Christian body 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 (John 17:17,19; Romans 6:1 22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 4; 5:23).
In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—their new nature doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16 25; Ephesians 4:22 24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9 10; 1 Peter 1:14 16; 1 John 3:5 9).
Concerning the Perseverance of the Saints: We believe that all real believers endure unto the end (1); that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors (2); that a special Providence watches over their welfare (3); and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (4).
(1) John 8:31; (2) 1 John 2:19; (3) Rom. 8:28; (4) Phil. 1:6.
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 40; 10:27 30; Romans 5:9 10; 8:1, 31 39; 1 Corinthians 1:4 8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 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).
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 natural response 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. We do not hold to a debtor’s ethic in that we do not believe that we are required, able, or even encouraged to repay God for His goodness and grace. All that we do is by His power and for His glory.
We also teach that separation from all ecclesiastical and personal apostasy and is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1 2, 1 Corinthians 5:9 13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15 17; 2 John 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 that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2 12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1 2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11 14; 1 John 3:1 10).
Concerning the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel: We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government (1); that it is Holy, just, and good (2); and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin (3); to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church (4).
(1) Rom. 3:31; (2) Rom. 7:12; (3) Rom. 8:7,8; (4) Rom. 8:2-4.
Concerning a Gospel Church: We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (1); associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel (2); observing the ordinances of Christ (3); governed by His laws (4); and exercising the gifts*, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word (5); seeking to extend the Gospel to the ends of the earth (6); that its only Scriptural officers are bishops, or pastors and deacons (7); whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus.
(1) 1 Cor. 1:1-13; (2) Acts 2:41,42; (3) 1 Cor. 11:2; (4) Matt. 28:20; (5) Eph. 4:7; (6) Matt. 28:20; (7) Phil. 1:1.
* We are not in agreement with many modern day Charismatic practices concerning Spiritual gifts.
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 universal (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 local and at work, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1 21, 38 47) and will be complete and at rest at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13 18).
We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born again believers in this present church age (Ephesians 2:11 3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32; Romans 11:25-32), 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 over the assembly and under Christ are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor teachers; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1 13; Titus 1:5 9; 1 Peter 5:1 5). We teach that these pastoral leaders lead as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17 22) and have His authority in directing the church by His Word. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
The biblically designated officers serving under the assembly and Christ are deacons, who must also meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1 13; Titus 1:5 9; 1 Peter 5:1 5).
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19 20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5 14), 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).
Concerning a Gospel Church in its Independence and Relationships: We believe that the local visible church of Christ is a voluntary and independent autonomous group of baptized believers (1); that it is a pure democracy, which organically can join nothing (2); and that it has the power and right within itself to confess its own faith in accordance with the New Testament (3); and that each congregation recognizes its own democratic self-containing government as its highest authority for carrying out the will of the Lord Jesus Christ (4).
(1) Matt. 18:15-18; (2) Rom. 12:16; (3) 1 Tim. 3:15; (4) Matt. 18:15-18; Acts 1:23-26.
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external 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 should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. (Acts 15:19 31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4 7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1 4).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) 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 (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38 42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
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), and He also gives unique and special spiritual 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 gifts given 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 (1 Corinthians 13:8 12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13 14). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6 8). 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; 2 Corinthians 12:6 10; James 5:13 16; 1 John 5:14 15).
Concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper:
We believe that both Christian baptism and the Lord’s Supper are each a memorial, a symbol and a prophecy (1); We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (2); into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (3); to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effecting our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (4); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper* (5); in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and fruit of the vine are to commemorate together the dying life of Christ (6); preceded always by self-examination (7). *Baptism is not required as a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper by this local church.
(1) Rom. 6:3; (2) Acts 8:36-39; (3) Matt. 28:19; (4) Rom. 6:4; (5) Acts 2:41,42; (6) 1 Cor. 11:26; (7) 1 Cor. 11:28.
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 42). The ordinance of baptism functions to display what the gospel is (Mt 16:19, Mt 18:19) and is a “key” to be used by the local New Testament church.
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 11:28 32). We also teach that whereas the elements of Communion are magnificently representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord's Supper is an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in fellowship with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16). The ordinance of communion functions to display who belongs to Christ in the gospel (Mt 16:19, Mt 18:19) and is a “key” to be used by the local New Testament church.
Concerning the Lord’s Day:
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, and is a Christian institution (1); it is to be kept sacred to spiritual purposes (2); by abstaining from all unnecessary secular labor and sinful recreations (3); for it commemorates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead (4); by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private (5) and public (6); and by preparation of the rest which remaineth for the people of God (7).
Note: This local church does not view Sunday as the Sabbath in a legal sense.
(1) Acts 20:7; (2) Ex. 20:8; (3) Is. 58:13, 14; (4) Acts 20:7;(5) Psa. 118:15; (6) Heb. 10:24, 25 (7) Heb. 4:3-11.
Concerning Civil Government and Religious Liberty:
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society (1); and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed (2); except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ (3); who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth (4); and that church and state should be separated, the state owing the church protection and full freedom (5); no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be preferred above another by the state (6); the state should not impose taxes for the support of any form of religion; a free church in a free state is the Christian ideal (7).
(1) Rom. 13:1-7; (2) Matt. 22:21; (3) Acts 5:29; (4) Matt. 23:10; (5) 1 Tim. 2:1; (6) James 4:12; (7) 1 Cor. 3:5.
Concerning the State of the Righteous and the Wicked:
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked (1); that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His sight (2); while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse (3); and this distinction holds among men both in and after death (4).(1) Mal. 3:18; (2) Rom. 1:17; (3) 1 John 5:19; (4) Prov. 14:32.
Concerning the Resurrection: We believe the Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus rose from the dead bodily, His grave was emptied of its contents (1); that He appeared to the disciples after His resurrection in many convincing manifestations (2); that He now exists in His glorified body at God’s right hand (3); and that there will be a resurrection of the wicked, separated in time (4); that the bodies of the righteous will conform to the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ (5).
(1) Matt. 28:1-8; (2) Matt. 28:6; (3) 1 Peter 3:22; (4) John 5:28; (5) Phil. 3:21.
Concerning the Return of the Lord and Last Things: We believe that the end of the age is approaching (1); “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (2); “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (3); “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and Holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,” (4); that a solemn separation will then take place (5); that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy (6); and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven and hell, on principles of righteousness.
(1) 1 Pet. 4:7; (2) 1 Thess. 4:16-18; (3) John 5:28, 29; (4) Rev. 20:5-7; (5) Matt. 13:49; (6) Matt. 25:31-46.
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 of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13 17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4 6), when our 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 those who have died 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 5:29; 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 tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (John 14:1 3; 1 Corinthians 15:51 53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11 15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
The Tribulation Period
We teach that following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1 3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13 18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 12; Revelation 16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27 31; 25:31 46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2 3; Revelation 20:4 6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24 27; Matthew 24:15 31; 25:31 46).
The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
We teach that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31 33; Acts 1:10 11; 2:29 30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a literal thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1 7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21 28; Daniel 7:17 22; Revelation 19:11 16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17 27; Revelation 20:1 7).
We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17 25; Ezekiel 37:21 28; Zechariah 8:1 17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited, to fulfill the promises postponed (Romans 11:25, 29) through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15 68; Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1 26). They will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31 34; Ezekiel 36:22 32, Romans 11:25 29).
We teach that this time of our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17 25; Ezekiel 36:33 38), and will be brought to an end with the temporary release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost
We teach that following the temporary release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment.
We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (Romans 14:10 13), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11 15).
We teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7 15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21 22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24 28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).
We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped (Job 38:7; Psalm 148:2-5; Colossians 1:16 ). Although they are a higher order of creation than man (Hebrews 2:9), they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Nehemiah 9:6; Luke 2:9 14; Hebrews 1:6 7, 14; 2:6 7; Revelation 5:11 14; 19:10; 22:9).
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), 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 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 (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).