Our Statement of Faith
1. On the Person of Jesus and the Holy Trinity
There is only one true God, Who is revealed in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Word (Logos) of God. The Word was with God in the beginning, which states His pre-existence as one with God. “By Him, all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth” (Colossians 1:16), therefore making Jesus the Creator. Jesus Christ is the Purpose of God found in all of creation. He is the Father’s delight and desire, and the Father is looking for the reflection of His Son in all created things. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. In the beginning, it was the ultimate purpose of God for all things to be summed up in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). Jesus Christ, Who pre-existed with God in the form of God, emptied Himself to become fully a man that He might be the propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Through His propitiatory sacrifice made on the cross, all who believe in Him and His sacrifice have their sins remitted and are restored to the fellowship with God lost by man’s transgression.
Jesus was born of a virgin, by the seed of the Holy Spirit. His virgin birth is a testimony that only the Spirit can beget that which is Spirit. Those of the new creation are not solely of human origin but are born from above by the Holy Spirit.
The resurrection of Jesus’ physical body after His crucifixion was literal, as will be the resurrection of both the just and the unjust on the Day of Judgment. “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). All who seek restoration and fellowship with God must go through Jesus and cannot approach God through any person, spirit or doctrine. It is also a supreme presumption for any person or institution to seek to be the mediator for others in place of Christ Jesus Himself. The apostolic commission was for His followers to labor until Christ was formed in His church, to present a church complete in Christ, and to manifest the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. When Jesus is lifted up, He will draw all people to Himself. We consider it the primary purpose of the church to esteem and exalt Christ.
2. On Man
We believe that man was created by God from the dust of the earth, without sin or the knowledge of good and evil. The first man, Adam, transgressed the command of God, and as God had warned, the process of death entered him and all of his descendants because of that transgression. Therefore, all have sinned and are worthy of the sentence of death. Through Jesus, we not only can come before the Throne of Grace, but we may approach it boldly since our confidence is not in ourselves, but in the Lord Jesus.
3. On the Atonement
Because all have sinned and are therefore under the sentence of death, all must trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of sins. There is no other way to reconcile with God or escape from eternal judgment, except through the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus. His death on the cross is the only transaction that can redeem man.
4. On the New Birth
Believing in our hearts that Jesus is the Son of God and His propitiation made for our salvation results in a regeneration and renewal that constitutes our new birth into new creations. Being “born again” implies a new beginning, not an ending. Christian maturity in faith, truth, and life is a process. Even so, this process must begin with spiritual regeneration or new birth. While it is possible to change our behavior without regeneration, changing our hearts requires the new birth, and it is our hearts upon which God looks. Only the new birth makes us the Sons and Daughters of God. Salvation is by grace through faith alone.
5. On the Purpose of Faith
True faith is of the heart and not just the mind (Romans 10:10). God’s purpose in requiring faith for salvation is to raise our focus and concentration above the temporal to the One who is eternal. We believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone, and that faith without works is dead.
6. On the Authority of Scripture
We believe in the Divine inspiration and authority of the 66 books of the Holy Bible as the complete canon of God’s testimony to mankind. We are committed to esteeming Scripture as the very Word of God, inerrant in its original form. We do not accept any doctrine that contradicts Scripture. We understand that there are many practices and doctrines that are considered orthodox which do not contradict the Scripture, but which are not directly addressed in His Word. We are committed to giving liberty in the belief and practice of these teachings, but we will endeavor to maintain the simplicity of the biblical testimony and its stated practices as we are given the grace to perceive them. We do not accept any spiritual experience as having its source in the Holy Spirit that does not have a precedent in Scripture. We do not believe that any other writings have the same authority as the canon of Scripture.
7. On the Present Ministry of the Holy Spirit
We believe that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and that His ministry in and through the church by the Holy Spirit has not changed from the beginning. We accept, acknowledge, encourage, and seek all of the biblical gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit as present and vital for the church to accomplish her full purpose today. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that a Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
Of the Holy Scripture.
1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation; so He provided us His Holy Scriptures.
2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:
Of the Old Testament
Song of Solomon
Of the New Testament
All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.
IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
X. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.
I. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no means clear the guilty.
II. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.