A Basic Summary of Our Doctrinal Beliefs
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are alone the sufficient, inerrant and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
There is but one living and true God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all. To Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.
In the unity of the one God there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; each fully God and yet the Godhead is one and indivisible; each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.
In the beginning it pleased God to create the world and all things in it in the space of six days, and all very good. After making all other creatures, He created man on the sixth day, male and female, after His image, in righteousness and true holiness.
God from eternity has decreed all things that come to pass, and He perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events in accordance with what He has decreed; yet so as not to violate the liberty of choice and personal responsibility of intelligent creatures.
Though God created Adam in His own image, and free from sin, yet in the Garden of Eden he was under probation with the possibility of sinning as the representative and the root of all mankind to be descended from him. As such, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness so that all his posterity are born under condemnation with a nature corrupt in every faculty, opposed to God, inclined to all evil and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors. Man as such has lost all moral ability with reference to any spiritual good acceptable to God or accompanying salvation, being in bondage under guilt and corruption.
Election is God's eternal choice of specific persons to salvation from sin and unto everlasting life -- not because of any foreseen action of theirs or foreseen merit in them, but of His own mere mercy in Christ -- in consequence of which choice they are in due time effectually called to faith in Christ, justified and ultimately glorified.
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Being eternal God, the second person of the Trinity, He became man, yet without sin, so as to be both God and man, two whole and distinct natures yet one person. Being born of a virgin He came into the world, sent by the Father as the second and last Adam to save the elect from their lost and sinful state. In accomplishing this work He perfectly fulfilled the Law on their behalf and suffered and died upon the cross enduring the divine wrath and punishment that they deserve in their place. He was buried and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He is exalted as Lord of all and where He ever lives to make intercession for all who come unto God by Him. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe. This Christ, in all the glory of His person and perfection of His saving work, is proclaimed to sinners in the gospel and all sinners freely and indiscriminately are sincerely invited and solemnly commanded to repent and believe upon Him for salvation which is promised to all who do. This gospel is to be proclaimed to all peoples, tribes, nations, and parts of the world.
Regeneration is a secret work in the heart of a sinner by the Holy Spirit, who quickens the dead in trespasses and sins, renewing and enlightening the mind and heart to spiritually understand, savor and embrace in faith the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a work of God's sovereign and special grace alone.
Saving faith is a gracious gift of God and fruit of regeneration. It is that grace by which the sinner is enabled to believe whatever is revealed in God’s Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification, sanctification and eternal life.
Repentance is inseparable from faith as also a fruit of regeneration. It is that grace by which a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the evil of his sin, and of the mercy of God freely offered to him in Christ, does with godly sorrow and hatred of his sin turn from it unto God with full purpose and endeavor to walk before Him in new obedience.
Justification is an act of God’s free grace by which those who believe in Christ are fully forgiven of all their sins and accounted as perfectly righteous in His sight. This is not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but on account of the perfect obedience and full satisfaction accomplished by Christ, which is imputed to them when they receive and rest on Him by faith alone.
Adoption is an act of God’s free grace by which those justified in Christ are also taken into the number and enjoy all the privileges of being children of God. God, as a Father to them, pities, protects, provides for, chastens and seals them to the day of redemption as heirs and joint-heirs with Christ of eternal life and glory.
Those who have been regenerated, justified, and adopted have also granted to them the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit by whom they are united to Christ and to each other, strengthened in love, hope, faith and assurance, assisted in their prayers, enabled to mortify sin and cultivate Christ-like virtues and sealed unto the day of redemption. The manifestation of the indwelling of the Spirit is not to be looked for in those extraordinary abilities to perform miracles, receive direct revelations or speak in tongues that marked the apostolic period before the apostles finished their special work but is rather seen in the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self control.
Those who have been regenerated, justified and adopted are also sanctified by God's Word and by the Spirit dwelling in them. Having a new heart and new spirit created in them, sin’s dominion over them is destroyed, its inward lusts are more and more weakened and spiritual virtues are more and more quickened and strengthened. This sanctification is not complete in this life but having begun at conversion is progressive producing a continual and irreconcilable conflict in the soul with remaining sin and temptation. However through the supply of Divine strength the children of God are enabled in this conflict to grow in grace perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Those whom God has chosen in eternity, regenerated in time, justified and set apart for Himself by the sanctifying work of His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but will certainly persevere to the end, God Himself having pledged to preserve them. Though they may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, by which they grieve the Spirit, weaken their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and sometimes temporal judgments on themselves, yet they will ultimately be renewed again to repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation and eternal glory.
The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church Universal, which on earth is rightly composed of true disciples associated together in particular local churches. In Him is invested supremely all power for its government. Every Christian should become a part of a local church where such exists and to each of these local assemblies Christ has given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He has appointed. The regular officers of a local church are Elders (Bishops, Pastors), and Deacons.
Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, by which the believer is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his union with Christ in His death and resurrection, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is a prerequisite to church membership.
The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and the fruit of the vine, and is to be observed by His churches until the end of this age. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate our Lord’s death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and with one another.
The Lord's Day (Sunday) is the New Covenant application of the fourth commandment in commemoration of our Lord’s resurrection. It is to be regularly observed until Christ returns and we enter into our eternal rest in glory. It is to be kept a special day for worship, ministry, and rest from our ordinary labors; works of necessity and mercy excepted.
God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Nevertheless, civil, church, and family government being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things required by such ought to be yielded by us in the Lord. However, no human authority ordained of God, whether in home, church, state, or workplace may require from us that which God forbids or forbid that which God commands and should any do so we must obey God rather than man.
The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God -- the righteous in Christ to rest with Him; the wicked to be reserved under darkness and torment to the judgment. At the last day when Christ returns bodily to judge the world in righteousness and to consummate His Kingdom, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.