Statement of Faith
The Bible is the Word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, verbally inspired in the original manuscripts in all parts and sufficient as the sole authority of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because Scripture is inspired by God in its entirety, it is inerrant in its entirety because God’s word is true (John 17:17), and He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Scripture is also infallible, accomplishing everything God has purposed it to do (Isaiah 55:11). Scripture is preserved because God appointed the Jews to be the keepers of the Old Testament (Rom. 3:2) and has preserved the New Testament through the copying of the original manuscripts, which are discerned through textual criticism. Scripture is also perspicuous, able to be plainly understood (Romans 10:6-8). The way of understanding the Scriptures is through the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics (Matthew 19:4-5).
God exists as one God in three coeternal, coequal, and coexistent Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Trinity share the same, single substance, each possessing the attributes of God in their entirety, including: compassion (concern for His creation) (Psa. 145:8), eternality (preexisting all things) (Psa. 90:2), goodness (always having a good purpose for everything He does) (Matt. 19:17), graciousness (desire to give His creation what it does not deserve) (Psa. 145:8), holiness (not like anyone or anything) (Lev. 20:26), imminence (closeness to His creation) (Col. 1:17), immutability (inability to change) (Jam. 1:17), impassibility (inability to be forced to feel emotions by outside sources) (Ex. 13:14), impeccability (inability to sin) (Jam. 1:13), incorporeality (existence as a spirit) (John 4:24), infinitude (possessing His attributes without limit) (Rev. 1:8), inscrutability (inability to be known in totality) (Isa. 40:28), jealousy (refusal to share His glory with another) (Ex. 34:14), love (acting in love in all of His actions) (1 John 4:8), omnipotence (being all powerful) (Jer. 32:17), omnipresence (having all of creation present before Him) (Jer. 23:24), omniscience (knowing all things) (1 John 3:20), sovereignty (accomplishing His will at all times) (Psa. 135:6), righteousness (always acting in a morally just way) (Psa. 145:17), self-existence (His reason for existence is found solely in Himself) (Acts 17:24-25), transcendence (distance from His creation) (Jer. 23:23), unity (He is one in being and in purpose without division) (Deut. 6:4), veracity (always represents the truth) (Tit. 1:2), and wrath (hatred toward sin and evil) (Nah. 1:2). God is the Creator and Sustainer and Purpose of all things (Rom. 11:36), and He created everything in 6, 24-hour days (Genesis 1).
The Father is the first person of the Trinity. He is truly God (1 Cor. 8:6). The Father decreed before He created anything everything that occurs in time based solely on His will (Eph. 1:11). This predestination includes people’s actions, including sin, and they could not have done otherwise (Acts 4:27-28). However, this predestination does not absolve mankind from responsibility because God will judge based on the intentions of the heart of the sinner, who was not forced against his will to do something he did not want to do, but rather freely did what he wanted according to God’s predestination (Isaiah 10:5-14). God predestined everything for His glory (Eph. 1:7-9) and the good of His people (Rom. 8:28). This predestination also includes who will be justified based on God’s loving choice of a person (Romans 8:29-30).
Angels were created by God (Ps. 148:2-5) in a state of perfection, but Satan and 1/3 of the angels fell and became demons (Rev. 12:3-4). The holy angels worship God, while the fallen angels have been defeated by Christ by His death (Col. 2:15) and are awaiting their final judgment (Rev. 20:10).
Mankind was created by God, both body and soul (Gen. 2:7) in His image (Gen. 1:26-27), both male and female as husband and wife, demonstrating what marriage is (Gen. 2:22-25). God created man and woman to fulfill certain roles, namely love and submission, respectively (Ephesians 5:22-33). While mankind still maintains the image of God (Jam. 3:9), that image became marred when Adam and Eve sinned (Gen. 3:1-7). Now, all humans at the moment of conception are guilty because of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12-21) and receive a sin nature (Psa. 51:5) that results in all humans sinning (Rom. 3:23). Humans are slaves to sin (John 8:34), which results in an inability to repent and believe the gospel (John 8:42-47). Mankind is hopeless and condemned in sin on their own (Rom. 3:19-20) and will be judged after death with no second chances (Heb. 9:27).
The Son is the second person of the Trinity. He is truly God (Tit. 2:13) and truly man (Heb. 2:14). He was born of the virgin, Mary, after being conceived in her by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-25). He lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15). He died a substitutionary death (2 Cor. 5:21) to satisfy the justice and wrath of the Father (Rom. 3:21-26) against both the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). He rose again from the dead on the third day (Luke 24:36-43) before He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50-51), where He now ministers as the High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16) and Mediator (Rom. 8:34) for each believer, who is a priest (1 Pet. 2:5-9), before He comes again bodily in glory (Acts 1:11).
Salvation begins in eternity past where God foreknows, which means He intimately loves, a specific group of people (Rom. 8:29). He elects these people to be the objects of His grace based solely on His will to glorify Himself (Rom. 9:19-24). He predestines these elect to be saved in time (2 Thess. 2:13). The elect hear the gospel, which is that God has created everything and will judge everyone for his sin against Him (Acts 17:22-29), but He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for sin before rising from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and now everyone must repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). Repentance is a hatred for sin that results in turning from those sins in a new direction (2 Cor 7:9-11), and faith is a love for Christ and what He has done on your behalf that results in a lifelong commitment to follow Him where He would have you go, no matter the cost (Matt. 16:24-26). Every believer must preach the gospel, because believing the gospel is the only way to be saved (Rom. 10:14-17). Upon hearing the gospel, the Holy Spirit regenerates the elect (John 3:3-8), which always results in them repenting and believing unto justification (Eph. 2:8-9). Upon the moment someone believes the gospel, God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to the sinner, making him innocent and just in God’s sight (2 Cor. 5:21). However, God does not justify someone He will not also sanctify, and anyone who falls away from the faith (1 John 2:19), habitually sins (1 John 3:4-10), or believes heresy (2 John 1:9-11) proves that he was never a believer. On the contrary, good works (1 John 3:4-10) and perseverance (Matt. 24:13) are the marks of a true believer. Salvation culminates in glorification, where God gives the believer a glorified body that can no longer sin to go along with the spirit that was glorified at the moment of regeneration, saving the believer from the presence of sin for eternity (1 Cor. 15:42-44).
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is truly God (Acts 5:1-5). He authored the Scriptures through human writers (Heb. 3:7). He conceived Jesus in Mary, overcoming her sinfulness and giving Jesus a sinless nature (Matt. 1:18-25). He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-12). He testifies about what Jesus has done (John 16:13-14). He regenerates a person, giving him new, spiritual life so he can repent of sin and believe the gospel (John 3:3-8). He indwells believers (1 Cor. 3:16). He seals believers, ensuring their salvation that cannot be lost (2 Cor. 1:22). He bears fruit through believers (Gal. 5:22-23). He distributes spiritual gifts to believers (1 Cor. 12:7). With the completion of the canon of Scripture, He no longer distributes the sign gifts, which were given for a time to validate the gospel in the first century during the time of the Apostles until the Scriptures were completed (1 Cor. 13:8-12). These gifts include Apostleship (Eph. 2:20), wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, languages, and interpreting languages (1 Cor. 12:8-11).
The Church began at Pentecost because she was a future entity in Matthew 16:18 but a present entity in Acts 5:11. The Church is not a building, but rather is composed of all believers from Pentecost to today (Eph. 1:22-23). The Church is composed of local churches, which gather as autonomous congregations of believers (1 Pet. 5:1-3). These congregations are to be of believers who meet regularly (Heb. 10:24-25) and are led by a plurality of men who are pastors/elders and a plurality of men who are deacons (1 Timothy 2:11-3:13; 1 Peter 5:1-3). These gatherings are to be orderly (1 Cor. 14:40) and done for the edification of one another (1 Cor. 14:12) through the use of spiritual gifts (1 Pet. 4:10-11) and for the glory of God (Eph. 3:21). These gatherings are to be marked by praising God together (Eph. 5:19-20) and receiving instruction through the preaching of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 4:1-2). The local church also participates in the administration of the ordinances, which are baptism by trine immersion (Matt. 28:19-20) and Communion, which consists of foot washing (John 13:12-17), the love feast (1 Cor. 11:33), and the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Supper, which are memorials partaken of to remember Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Those who are members of a local church that do not repent after being rebuked for their habitual sin (such as sexual immorality (1 Cor. 5:1-13)) in private by one believer, then in private by two or three believers, and then in public by the local church under the supervision of the pastors are to be excommunicated (Matt. 18:15-20) along with those who teach false doctrine (2 John 1:9-11) or continue to cause division after being warned by the elders two times (Titus 3:10), in order to keep the local church pure and to save the false convert’s soul (1 Cor. 5:1-13). All who make up the Church are entrusted with the privilege of preaching the gospel to all as the means by which God converts people as His disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).
The end will begin at the personal and imminent return of Jesus when He gathers His saints to Himself (1 Thess. 4:16-17) to grant them glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:50-53) before the Tribulation takes place (Rev. 3:10). The Tribulation is the seven-year period designed to bring about the nation of Israel’s sanctification (Dan. 9:24-27) and judge the world (Rev. 3:10). After the Tribulation, Jesus will return with His saints to put an end to the rebellion against Him (Rev. 19:11-21), bind Satan (Rev. 20:1-3), and set up His kingdom. He will rule for 1,000 years before Satan is released, gathers humanity, and rebels against Jesus one last time before being put down (Rev. 20:7-10). God will then raise the dead unbelievers to life, judge them for their sins, and condemn them to eternal conscious torment in hell (Rev. 20:11-15). This begins the eternal state with the saints in perfect bliss with God (Rev. 21:2-4) and the unbelievers suffering under God’s wrath for eternity (Rev. 21:8).