What We Believe
What Is Salvation?
God knew that humanity would sin and need to be reconciled to Him. At the heart of God’s plan to reconcile sinful humanity to Himself is the Mediator, Jesus Christ (see 1 Timothy 2:5–6). Salvation is deliverance from the power and effects of sin. All have sinned (see Romans 3:23), but we cannot save ourselves. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ died for sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:6–8).
Process of Salvation: God’s Side
On the divine side of salvation, God sovereignly acts to secure salvation for sinners through:
- Election: Through grace, God chose salvation in Christ for those whom He knew would accept Him (see Ephesians 1:4–5). The Apostle Paul tells us, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29 NLT).
- Regeneration: God makes us alive through Christ, enabling us to be born again, and to experience a new birth (see John 3:3). Without a new birth, we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
- Justification: When God justifies us, He declares us guiltless before Him and places all of the righteousness of Christ to our credit. Justification represents both God’s forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness He has accounted to us (see Romans 3:28; 5:1).
- Adoption: Adoption means “the placing of a son.” God gives us the full rights of inheritance in His family as though we had been born into it (see Galatians 4:4–5; Ephesians 1:5). As God’s children, we can be confident that He understands us, takes care of us, and will bless us.
- Sanctification: When we become Christians, God sanctifies us, or sets us apart positionally, practically, and permanently for Himself (see 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Through sanctification, we become more and more like Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Process of Salvation: Humanity’s Side
Just as there is a divine side of salvation, there is also a human side that shows itself through “free will”:
- Faith and Belief: Acknowledging Jesus Christ not only in our heads, but also in our hearts (see John 3:18, 36; 5:24; 6:47; Romans 10:9). Faith is a confiding trust. It involves our intellect, emotions, and will (see Mark 4:16–17; Romans 10:9, 17; Ephesians 2:8–9; Hebrews 11:1, 6).
- Acceptance: True faith and belief in Christ will ultimately lead to an acceptance and confession of Jesus Christ as Lord (see Romans 10:9–10). The Apostle John confirmed this when he wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
- Repentance: This is a sincere and thorough change of mind and heart toward sin (see Psalm 51:3; 2 Peter 3:9). We must not only turn from our sins, but we must also turn to God (see Acts 3:19; 26:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).
Product of Salvation
God created us, and Christ purchased us so that we might know Him, walk with Him, and glorify Him (see Ephesians 1:11–12). He also wants us to bear much fruit (see John 15:8) as we invest our lives in service to Him (see Matthew 16:24–26; Galatians 6:10).
We bear fruit by winning others to Christ; by helping them grow spiritually (see Romans 1:13; Proverbs 11:30); by sharing our blessings with others (see Philippians 4:17); by giving praise and thanks to God (see Hebrews 13:15); and by living a changed life through our conduct and character (see Galatians 5:22).
Some people think that because they have “prayed to receive Christ,” they can live as they please. But salvation brings about a changed life (see 2 Corinthians 5:17) and motivates believers to follow God’s purpose for their lives.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances for the church: (a) full immersion water baptism of believers, and (b) the Lord’s Supper. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) We also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ validated the ordinance of marriage. (Matthew 19:4-5 and John 2:1-11)
What Is the Bible?
The Bible is a book of history, science, poetry, and human behavior. Most importantly, it is a love story that reveals the heart of God through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible Is Unique
The Bible was written over a period of fifteen hundred years by more than forty authors in three languages on three continents. Rather than contradicting one another, the writers maintained complete historical, moral, prophetical, and theological accuracy. They wrote with harmony and continuity, from Genesis to Revelation.
The Bible Was Inspired by God
The Bible was written by people under the inspiration of God (see 2 Peter 1:20–21; 2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, God used the personalities and characteristics of each biblical author to bring forth His word.
The Bible Is to be Read and Studied
Studying the Bible is an absolute must for Christians. The Bible instructs, “Study to show thyself approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). The systematic preaching of the Bible is impossible without the systematic study of the Bible. We are not to skim a few verses in our daily Bible reading, nor are we to study a passage only when we’re about to share it. We need to immerse ourselves daily in God’s Word, like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily (see Acts 17:11).
The Bible Teaches Us
To build a model airplane, we need to follow a set of instructions. Only then will the final product look like its counterpart on the box. In the same way, we need to follow God’s instruction manual for life, the Bible. Only then will our lives reflect Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Bible Gives Us Hope
The Bible was “written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). We find hope through learning about God, His ways, and His plans for our lives. When we discover the promises of God, we recognize there is more to life than merely existing. We discover there is life beyond this life. Through the Bible, we obtain hope, encouragement, comfort, strength, wisdom, and much more. Best of all, we gain an understanding of how to know God personally and how to live for Him righteously.
The Bible Gives Direction
To find our way through the dark, we need a flashlight. Only then can we see clearly and avoid stumbling. The psalmist described God’s Word as “a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). As we allow the Bible to direct our lives, we’ll keep from stumbling and falling. If you want to be wise, read the Bible. If you want to be safe, believe the Bible. If you want to be right, obey the Bible.
What Is Prayer?
The greatest privilege a Christian has is the privilege of prayer. Not only is it a privilege, but it is also the responsibility of every believer. Jesus said that we “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
Prayer is simply talking to God, letting our concerns and requests be made known to Him. When we pray, we admit our need for God and our utter dependence on Him. Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ do we have access to God (see 1 Timothy 2:5). We approach God in Jesus’ name, not our own.
Prayer is not a means of trying to get from God what we want, but rather a means by which we enable God to give us what He wants.
We’re to pray because God commands it (see 2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 18:1). Through prayer, we receive things (see James 4:2), experience fullness of joy (see John 16:24), and find help in times of trouble. Prayer is the cure for worry (see Philippians 4:6) and also helps us resist temptation (see Matthew 26:41).
When Are We to Pray?
We are to pray always (see Ephesians 6:18). The Bible instructs us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Types of Prayer
Praise and Adoration
Through praise and adoration, we acknowledge God’s goodness. We must recognize that when we pray, we enter God’s presence (see Matthew 6:9). As we reverence the Lord by communing with Him in prayer, our relationship with Him becomes more intimate and our love more tender.
Confession and Repentance
Confession and repentance are prerequisites for approaching God. The Bible assures us of forgiveness if we confess our sins to God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
We should continually thank God for what He has done for us. We’re to thank Him during the good times, as well as the bad times, “giving thanks always for all things…” (Ephesians 5:20). We’re also to make our requests to God “with thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6).
We are to pray for our needs and ask God for help in our daily affairs. We must never think that our requests are too small or too big to bring before God. As Christians we are to pray about everything, being confident that God hears us, cares about us, and acts on our behalf.
Intercession means to pray on behalf of—and for—other people (see 1 Timothy 2:1). We’re to pray for our family, friends, leaders, our country, and whatever else God lays on our hearts. We are to pray for them as seriously as we pray for ourselves.
What if I Don’t Pray?
Neglecting to pray is a sin. Samuel said, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).
D. L. Moody summarized the necessity of prayer with this observation: “Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.”
We believe that there is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:8 and 48:16; Matthew 28:19-20; John 10:30; Hebrews 1:3).
We believe in the person of God the Father, an infinite, eternal, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:27; John 3:16 and 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Titus 1:3).
We believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings, his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth. (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:1-2, 8:58 and 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:8).
We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, Who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ; (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:8-11; Romans 8:26 and 15:13,16; Hebrews 9:14),
We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. (John 6:13, 14:16-17 and 16:8-11; Romans 8:26).
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of all Biblical gifts of the Spirit according to the instructions given to us in 1 Corinthians 12-14. (1 Corinthians 14)
We Need A Savior
We believe that all people are sinners by nature and, therefore, are under condemnation; that God saves and regenerates based upon faith by the Holy Spirit, those who repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. (Acts 8:15-17; Ephesians 2:1-3 and 8-9; Romans 3:23 and 5:8; Titus 3:5).
We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head and all who are born again are a part of the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:15-16)
The Second Coming
We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which is His personal, visible return to earth and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and eternal blessing of the righteous and endless separation of the wicked. (Matthew 16:27; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:11-15)
Heaven & Hell
We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord, while those who reject Jesus gift of salvation will spend eternity separated from the Lord. (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:3, 5:22, 18:9 and 25:31-34; Mark 9:42-49; Luke 12:5; John 3:18; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 14:10-11 and 20:11-15)
We believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church where all believers will meet the Lord in the air and be taken out of this world prior to the Tribulation that will come upon the earth. (Isaiah 26:20; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:18, 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-16 and 5:9; 2 Peter 2:7-9; Revelation 3:10, 5:7-10 and 7:13-14)