Bibliology: The Study of the Word of God
We believe Revelation is the unveiling of God’s truth to humanity.
We believe God has revealed Himself to all of humanity through creation (Rom 1:20) and the moral law (Rom 2:14-15) so that all are without excuse.
We believe Special revelation is God revealing Himself through various means including visions, casting of lots, dreams, prophets and ultimately in the revealed word and the person of Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1). God chose to use language to reveal Himself through propositional truth recorded in the 66 books of Scripture which is the ultimate arbitrator of all truth. For further clarity see comments under Pneumatology.
We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God. To clarify, we mean that the very letters and words written in Scripture were exactly what God intended to be recorded. God made certain that His revelation was recorded without error in the original manuscripts including statements that regard science, history, and geography (2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21).
We believe that illumination is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers, helping them to understand the significance of the text and empowering them to obey. The ministry of illumination comes from the study and meditation upon Scripture for the purpose of glorifying Christ. (Psalm 119:99; John 16:12–15; Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 2:9–3:3; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 John 2:27).
We believe that the Bible’s ultimate Author is God, therefore it is without error and is our authoritative guide in everything it addresses. Thus, the Bible has authority to tell us what to believe and how to behave (John 16:12–15; 2 Timothy 3:17; Colossians 2:3, John 17:17; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; John 3:12 ).
The canon of Scripture is a closed collection of those writings inspired by God. There are 39 books of the Hebrew Old Testament and 27 books of the Greek New Testament. These 66 books comprise the whole canon of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; Jude 3; Revelation 22:18–22). Because Scripture is God’s only written revelation to humanity, it is our sole source of infallible guidance. We do not accept the apocryphal books as canonical (Matthew 5:17–18; cf. Revelation 22:18–19; Jude 3).
Interpretation of Scripture
We believe the Bible should be interpreted using a normal (i.e. plain/literal), grammatical, and historical method of interpretation in every genre included in the 66 books of the Bible including prophecy. A consistent use of this approach does not preclude the use of figurative language, symbols or types divinely intended in Scripture.
We believe the Bible alone is a sufficient resource to equip every believer for a godly life and ministry (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:3–11)
The Historicity of the Genesis Account
We believe in and are committed to the historical and factual accuracy of the book of Genesis in its entirety. Therefore, we teach a recent creation of the entire universe (young earth creationism) and all forms of life in the six 24-hour days of the creation week. We believe that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman and that all of humanity has descended from them. We believe in a personal Satan who led some of the Angels to rebel, enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and continues to oppose God’s program for human history. We believe in a worldwide flood (not a local flood) which explains the disappearance of certain species recorded in the fossil record, due to the changes in the climate resulting from the flood. We believe in the creation of language groups and nations from God’s intervention at the Tower of Babel. We believe that Satan’s attempt to overthrow God is doomed to fail and that the Lake of Fire has been prepared as a place of eternal conscious punishment for him, his demons, and all humans who reject Christ.
Theology Proper: The Study of God
We believe in One triune God existing in three persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — eternal in being, identical in nature, equal in power and glory and having the same attributes including but not limited to omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, transcendence, holiness, sovereignty, love and justice). (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 4:34; 16:8–13; Ephesians 1:11; 3:11; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Hebrews 10:7).
Christology: The Study of Jesus Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ existed from all eternity as the second person of the Godhead and became man while never ceasing to be God (John 1:1–2, 14; Phil 2:6-8). Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was sent, so that He could reveal God and redeem humanity (Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14). He lived a perfect sinless life (Luke 1:35).
His Substitutionary Death
He accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross, which provided the required satisfaction to appease God’s wrath for the sins of all humanity. Jesus’ death was sufficient for the penalty of the sins of the world (1 John 2:2; Heb 2:9), but we recognize not all will believe and be delivered from God’s wrath. We do not believe in universalism (that all will be saved), (1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:18–19, 2:24). For further clarity see comments under Soteriology/Unlimited Atonement.
We believe Jesus bodily rose from the dead and is alive today. His literal bodily resurrection from the dead guarantees redemption forever (Luke 24:39; Hebrews 10:9–14; 1 Peter 1:3–5). The Lord Jesus Christ ascended in His glorified body and is now in Heaven (Acts 1:9), exalted at the right hand of God the Father, where He presently fulfills His high priestly ministry (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1–2).
Pneumatology: The Study of the Holy Spirit
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11); and regenerates and indwells those who believe the Gospel (Acts 16:31). During this present age the Spirit baptizes believers into the body of Christ, seals them unto the day of redemption, and imparts to them at least one spiritual gift for the building up of the body of Christ (John 16:8–11; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 12–14; Ephesians 1:13–14). The Spirit’s continuing ministry within believers includes comforting, convicting, enabling, interceding, leading, and sanctifying believers in order to conform them into the image of the Son (John 16:12–15; Acts 9:31; Romans 8:14, 16, 26; 9:1; Galatians 5:16–18, 22–23; Ephesians 3:16–20; 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).
We believe the Holy Spirit selects and gives at least one spiritual gift to every believer for the common good of all (1 Cor 12:7) and the building up of the church (Eph. 4:11-13). Believers are expected to use these gifts to build up the body and glorify the Son. We believe the church age was initiated through the ministry of the apostles accompanied by sign gifts to authenticate the messenger and their message. We believe that the sign gifts are not normative for today, gradually ceased and are not needed in the church age due to the completion of Scripture. (1 Corinthians 12:28-31, 14:1-28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:19-22; Hebrews 2:3-4).
Angelology: The Study of Angels
We believe that angels were created by God for His glory. Included in that creative work was Satan (Lucifer), the holy angels (those now confirmed in their holiness), and the fallen angels (demons). When God originally created angels, all were holy (Psalm 148:2, 5; Psalm 103:20-21; I Timothy 5:21; Revelation 12:4).
We believe that holy (good) angels are spirit beings who serve God and assist believers. These angels are now confirmed in their holiness. They stand before God and worship him; they deliver messages on his behalf, and they minister to believers in a variety of ways (Psalm 148:2; Revelation 5:11; Psalm 91:11, 12; Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 1:14).
We believe that Satan is a spirit being originally created in perfection but fell due to his rebellion. He is real, he is the unholy god of this age, he is a deceiver, a liar, a murderer, and the ruler of the powers of darkness. He is the enemy of believers and accuser of the brethren. He was defeated at the cross and will ultimately be cast alive into the Lake of fire (Matthew 4:3, 5, 10; John 8:44-45; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Revelation 12:4; Genesis 3:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:10).
We believe there are numerous fallen spirit beings who are working agents under the direction of Satan. They were expelled from Heaven along with Lucifer at the rebellion. They are evil and destructive, and their goal is to undermine God’s divine purposes and destroy a believer’s testimony.
Anthropology/Hamartiology: The Study of Man/The Study of Sin
The Imago Dei
We believe that God created man in His image (Gen 1:27). We believe that this “likeness” to God is not limited to our physical bodies but also involves many other aspects of our being. We believe this refers to our ability to experience emotion, have reasoning capabilities, and make decisions, as well as man’s function, to rule over the earth.
We believe that Adam and Eve were created without a sin nature (Gen 2:25). However, they were created with the ability to choose right from wrong and were given an original moral dilemma (Gen 2:15-17). They chose to sin and disobey God’s command (Gen 3:6). This sin by Adam and Eve had many devastating effects. It resulted in the death of all mankind (Rom 5:14, 1 Cor 15:22). All humanity from that point forward, apart from Christ Himself, was born with a sin nature (Ps 51:5; Eph 2;3).
Although God created man in unconfirmed holiness, Adam’s choice to sin resulted in humanity’s separation from God. The impact of Adam’s sin affected every part of humanity’s being (Ps 51:4; Rom. 5:12). Humanity became incapable of doing anything worthy of redemption. All our deeds in God’s sight are as filthy rags (Is 64:6; Rom. 3:12). On our own we do not seek after God (Rom 3:11). The Holy Spirit must be the one who draws us to God by removing the blinders from our eyes (2 Cor 4:4).
Soteriology: The Study of Salvation
The Condition for Salvation
We believe salvation is a free gift of God not based on works and this free gift is received through faith/belief/trust in Christ’s finished worked on the cross as payment for our sin We believe the Scriptures teach there is only one condition for eternal salvation and that is faith/trust/belief (all synonyms) in the finished work of Christ. This belief requires a recognition on the part of the individual that they have failed to live up to God’s perfect standard of holiness. We believe there is no other condition which is a requirement for salvation, either before (commitment/surrender) or after (baptism, obedience, works, perseverance), the exercise of faith. We further affirm the repentance required to receive God’s free gift of salvation is a change of mind regarding one’s guilty standing before God and a complete transfer of trust from one’s own works to Christ. A sinner cannot offer God anything that can contribute to Christ’s finished work on the cross. (Eph. 2:8-9; Acts 16:31; John 1:12; 3:16, 18; 20:31; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8–10; 1 Peter 1:18–19; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 5:11–12).
Eternal Security and Assurance of Salvation
We believe one who has trusted in Christ’s finished work on the cross is eternally secure and this security is based entirely on the promises of God, not the works of man (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35; 10:28-29; Rom.8:38-39; 1 John 5:13). Assurance of salvation is the confident realization of eternal security.
We believe the position called “Lordship Salvation” (others have self-identified their position as “commitment salvation” or “surrender salvation”) obscures the gospel message, blurs the distinction between justification and sanctification, and confuses the expectations of discipleship with the only essential requirement for salvation which is faith in Christ’s finished work on our behalf. The content of the gospel is clear: Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day (1 Cor.15:1-4). The necessary response to that content is equally clear: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (John 3:16; Acts 16:30-31).
We believe that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ died for all of humanity (Rom. 5:18; 1 John 2:2; Heb. 2:9). Therefore, we reject the doctrinal position known as “Limited Atonement,” which typically states that Christ did not intend to die for all and that His death was only intended to secure the salvation for the elect. We also reject the argument that Christ’s death must secure the salvation of all He died for or otherwise be ineffectual. Christ’s work on the cross was indeed sufficient to make payment for the sins of all people, yet the blood of Christ is only applied to the account of those who believe. Jesus’ death, therefore, provided a basis of salvation for those who believe and a basis of condemnation for those who refuse to believe.
As it relates to regeneration and faith, we affirm that lost sinners are spiritually dead (Eph.2:1) but we understand this to refer to their spiritual separation from God rather than to a spiritual unconsciousness which prevents them from exercising genuine faith in Christ. We affirm that the spiritual blindness brought about by the world, the flesh, and the devil must be overcome by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8; 2 Cor.4:4), but there must be a moment when the unsaved person understands the Gospel and must choose to trust in Christ and receive God’s free gift of salvation. We therefore reject the position that God must first regenerate a person before they can believe on the Lord Jesus. As a result, we confidently proclaim the Gospel to all and pray that they will respond in simple faith to God’s free offer of salvation (John 3:14-16).
We believe that the message of the New Testament calls all believers to a life of sanctification (we do not believe in antinomianism), which is our only reasonable response to our gracious God (Rom.12:1-2). We are called to be holy in conduct because we are already holy in position as born again, new creations in Christ (1 Cor.1:30-31; 2 Cor.5:14-17; Gal.2:20).
We believe traditional dispensationalism best describes God’s plan and purposes for human history (past, present, and future). In our estimation, this system accounts for both the unity and diversity found in Scripture, as well as the progress of revelation that has unfolded over the course of time. We affirm that the establishment of the theocratic kingdom, is the ultimate goal toward which human history is moving (Dan. 2:44; 7:14; Rev. 20:16). Under Christ’s righteous rule, the full potential of humanity will be realized, wherein man, as God’s image-bearers, will accomplish God’s stated purpose for humanity, to have dominion over planet earth (cf. Gen.1:28; 2:19-20). The last Adam will succeed in every point where the first Adam failed, bringing glory to the one whose purposes cannot fail (Rom.5:12-21; 1 Cor.15:20-28, 45-47). We further believe that a normal, plain, literal interpretation of Scripture, leads to a clear distinction between Israel and the Church. However, we also affirm that the values of the future kingdom are to be reflected in the changed lives and transformational ministries of those who are members of Christ’s bride, the Church. In contrast to Progressive Dispensationalism or other views, we do not believe that the kingdom of God has already been instituted, or that Jesus is currently sitting on and reigning from the throne of David (this is yet to be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom), nor is Satan spiritually “bound.” We hold to these distinctions openly and graciously with the full awareness that we are part of a larger Body of Christ with whom we worship and serve.
Ecclesiology: The Study of the Church
The Universal Church
We believe the Church began on the Day of Pentecost and includes all persons in heaven and upon earth who are placed into the Body of Christ by Spirit baptism (Acts 1:5, 11:15; 1 Cor 12:13). We believe the church is a spiritual entity made up of all born-again believers of this present age, regardless of their affiliation with churches or other organizations (Ephesians 1:22–23; 5:25–27; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; Ephesians 4:11–16). The Church is a distinct entity, not to be confused with Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32).
The Local Church
We believe the universal Church is visibly functional through local churches and governed by their own leadership who meet together for the proclamation of the word, prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and the church ordnances, which are baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; Acts 2:41–47; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:24–25).
We believe God calls qualified men to lead and teach the assembled congregation, therefore limiting the office of bishop/elder/pastor to men (1 Tim 3:1-8; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 14:33b–37; 1 Timothy 2:12–15). We also recognize the office of Deacon as servant leaders (1 Timothy 2:9, Acts 6). We believe women are essential and greatly used by God and have multiple gifts to help the church.
Eschatology: The Study of the End Times (Prophecy)
We believe the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy is the coming of the Lord Jesus in the air to receive to Himself, both the dead in Christ and believers who remain alive. The theological designation for this event is the Rapture of the Church (1 Corinthians 15:51–52; Philippians 3:20–21; 1 Thessalonians 1:9–10; 4:13–5:10; Titus 2:11–14; 1 John 3:2).
The Judgment Seat of Christ
We believe Church-Age saints will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven, following the rapture, for an assessment and evaluation of their lives and works after salvation and prior to their entry into the Kingdom (I Corinthians 3:11-15; II Corinthians 5:10; I John 4:17).
We believe the Rapture of the Church will be followed by the seven-year tribulation period. The Tribulation is a day of God’s Wrath upon unbelieving Israel and the world which will result in the punishment and restoration of the Nation of Israel to Himself (Daniel 9:24–27; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15–21; Romans 11:25-33; Revelation 6:1–17).
The Second Coming
We believe in the premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will make His enemies His footstool and set up His earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem to rule for 1,000 years and ultimately for eternity (Isaiah 2:1-5; 9:1-6; 11; Zechariah 14:4–11; Matthew 24–25; Acts 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10; Hebrews 2:8; 10:12–13; Revelation 19:11–20:10).
We believe Jesus will reign over the nations upon the earth for one thousand years following His second coming. This rule will extend into eternity in the New Heavens and New Earth (Daniel 2:44-45; 7:14; Isaiah 2:1-4; 9:1-7; 11; 65-66; Revelation 20:1–10).
The Great White Throne Judgment
We believe following the millennial kingdom the wicked dead shall be resurrected and judged at the Great White Throne. They will be condemned to everlasting conscious punishment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 21:1-27; Revelation 22:1-20).
The Eternal State
We believe following the millennium the wicked dead shall be condemned at the Great White Throne to everlasting conscious punishment in the Lake of Fire. The righteous in Christ shall be in eternal conscious blessedness in the presence of the Lord in the New Heaven and the New Earth (Luke 16:19–25; 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:2–9; 2:11–15; Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 21:1-27; Revelation 22:1-20).