What we believe matters deeply. It forms us and it shapes our way of seeing the world around us and the world to come. Here are some of the truths we hold dear:
ON THE SCRIPTURES
We believe in not only the INERRANCY of the Bible--in that it is God‘s perfect and trustworthy revelation of His character and will to humanity--but also the RELEVANCY of the Scriptures--in that it is God's best way of life described for His creation. God's Word was written by the hand of humans under the perfect inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is ultimately a testimony of everything God has done, desires to do, and will do.
ON THE ONE TRUE GOD
We believe there is only one living and true God who is the infinite and intelligent Creator and Ruler of everything which exists and has chosen to reveal Himself in the Trinitarian understanding of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. He alone is worthy of all honor and praise from mankind.
God as Father is all-wise and providentially cares for His universe. He is fatherly toward all people but is Father in truth only to those who choose to become His children through faith in the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God as Son is Jesus Christ who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is fully God and fully human. He took upon Himself the form of humanity, yet lived His life without sin. After living a perfect life, He willingly and sacrificially died on the Cross—offering Himself as a substitution for the death humanity should have suffered. After His bodily resurrection, He appeared to over 500 people for forty days and then ascended into heaven to serve as the Mediator and Intercessor for His people. At the Father‘s initiation, the Son will return to earth to judge the world and bring to consummation His redemptive mission to all of creation.
God as the Holy Spirit is the divine Spirit of God that was active in creation. He was the person of the Trinity responsible for inspiring men to write the Bible. He now works to convict people of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He illuminates the truth of God to all people—though not all chose to respond to His work. At the moment a person trusts God for their soul‘s redemption, the Spirit mystically baptizes believers into the Body of Christ, comes to live inside them, and seals them in salvation as a down payment of the future fullness of their relationship with God. His presence in a Christian enables them to grow in their faith and understanding of the work and will of God.
ON THE NATURE OF PEOPLE
We believe that people are the special creation of God, made in God‘s own image in a state of innocence with moral responsibility. Adam‘s choice to sin has brought sin into the human race and marred the image of God in us. Because of this, all people are born with a nature that is pre- disposed towards selfishness and pride and now exist in a broken state—fixable and redeemable only by God.
ON HOW GOD REDEEMS PEOPLE
We believe that salvation of the human soul is only by the grace of God and is necessary for every person since we are all broken by sin. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ who freely took upon the form of man, yet without sin; lived a perfect life; and became the sacrifice for man‘s sin by His death. After His resurrection from death, He ascended to His throne in heaven. When a person trusts in Jesus‘ substitutionary death as the forgiveness for and the healing of their sinful brokenness, they are secured for eternity in their relationship to God in a state often referred to in the Scriptures as saved. Having then been saved and freed from the guilt of sin, they are released from darkness into life, placed into a friendship with Christ, made a new creation, indwelt and baptized by the Holy Spirit, renewed in the image of Christ, and given the gift of eternal life.
We believe that baptism is an immersive identification with Jesus and His Church that every believer must choose. In every biblical example, when a person placed their faith in Jesus for salvation, the first response to this was to make this personal decision a widely-known reality. Baptism carries no saving grace in it, but does possess the mystical, mutual identification shared with both Christ and Church.
ON THE CHURCH
We believe that the Church is made up of every organized local congregation of baptized believers—historically and globally—who join their lives together by a covenant of belief and practice with Christ as their Lord. They observe the two ordinances of Christ—which are baptism and the Lord‘s Supper. The church is governed and directed by the Scriptures and shares the Gospel with the world. Each local church is to operate under the Lordship of Christ with elders guiding the congregation toward faithfulness to Christ. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all ages and all nations down through history. Ultimately, the church is God‘s missionary to the world.
ON THE CHURCH'S MISSION
We believe it is the gracious gift of God that He assigns every follower of Christ the calling of genuinely demonstrating and sharing the message of God‘s love and salvation to the entire world. In order for that work to be done, all Christians are to mature in their understanding of God and practice of their beliefs through spiritual growth and formation. It is the work of Christ to save people from their sin and that work continues through transforming the redeemed into His image. Christ expressly commanded that the Church and its members are to serve as a witness in their life and words as to the grace of Christ offered by His sacrificial death for sin. This work is to be done in a culturally-relevant fashion with the Scriptures as the guide for its content and method. A further element of missional living is the willingness on the part of believers to give of their finances in a cheerful and generous fashion to resource the work of the church in its ministries locally and globally.
ON THE LAST THINGS
We believe that the last days of human history will occur at a time known only to God. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return bodily to the earth to raise the dead and judge all men by the authority of His righteousness. There will be an eternal separation of those without Christ to hell—the place of real and eternal punishment—and those who have chosen to accept Christ's redemption to endless joy in a perfect place of fellowship with God. The Bible teaches that believers are to live as if the time they may encounter God could be at any moment.
ON THE FAMILY
God has chosen the family as the foundation of culture and as a portrait of His relationship to the church. Marriage is defined by God as a lifetime covenant between one man and one woman in which there is mutual submission to one another. The husband is to love his wife by placing her before himself---just as Christ loved the church and the wife is the picture of Christ's sacrifice and selflessness. Parents are to nurture their children by teaching them the truths of the Bible and modeling a loving relationship with their Lord and one another.