What We Believe
The Bible is the inspired Word of God and the revealed will of God. It is the result of holy men of old who spoke and wrote as moved upon by the Holy Spirit. It has been preserved through the years by God, and is given to us by Him as the authoritative voice in matters of doctrine, faith, and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21)
Our God is one God, yet manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father is a head of the trinity and resides in Heavenly realms. God the Son is the Word of God manifested in the flesh, the one who was begotten of God, and who has existed with the Father from the beginning. (John 1:1, 18, 14) In Jesus, God's son, all the essence and fullness of deity lived in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9) The Father has bestowed upon Jesus all authority to rule and reign in Heaven and on the earth. God the Holy Spirit is the very spirit of God who proceeds forth from the Father. (John 15:2) He has come to give testimony to Jesus and glorify Him. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He guides us into all truth, revealing the things of Christ, and bringing divine comfort and help to the believer. (John 14:26; 16:7-14)
Man, His Fall and Redemption
Man is a created being, made in the likeness and image of God. Through Adam's transgression and fall, sin came into the world and has its effect on all humanity and creation itself. The Scriptures declare, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was manifested to undo the work of the devil and mankind. Jesus shed His blood and gave His life to redeem mankind from sin and restore man back to God. (Romans 5:14; Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23; 1 John 3:8) He is the only mediator between God and man; the only sacrifice for sin, and the only way into the presence of God, our Heavenly Father. (John 14:6) Salvation is the gift of God to man. The gift of salvation is appropriated and enjoyed independent of works and the requirements of the law, and is received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. God's work through Christ has broken the power of sin, bringing righteousness to the believer, and enabling him to produce good works which are acceptable to God. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
Repentance means to turn around, or the turning away, from sin. It is dependent upon the convicting action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of both sinners and believers. The conviction of the Holy Spirit, which often accompanies the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will result in the revelation of one's sinfulness, which should lead to Godly sorrow. Remorse, or worldly sorrow, is a feeling of deep regret, hopelessness or even despair. It does not lead to a change of heart. Godly sorrow however, produces repentance which causes us to turn away from sin and selfishness and to receive God's work of grace in our hearts. True repentance brings God's forgiveness and restoration. Repentance changes the way we feel and act about sin, self, and God. Repentance is a total change of heart, mind, attitude, emotions, will, action, and lifestyle flowing from the turmoil and sorrow of the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin. (2 Corinthians 7:10; Psalms 51; Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25; Romans 1:18-32; Matthew 9:12,13)
Eternal Life and New Birth
Man's first step toward salvation is Godly sorrow that brings about repentance. This is followed by the New Birth. The New Birth is also referred to as one “being saved” or “born-again.” It is essential that one be born-again to see and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven . The New Birth produces eternal life in the believer. (2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 5:12; John 3:3-5) The New Birth is the rebirth of the human spirit. First, there is the washing of regeneration, which cleanses the human spirit of sin. Secondly, there is the renewing of our spirit by the Holy Spirit, who joins our spirit to the Spirit of God. In the New Birth, the believer is made one with Christ Jesus. He is delivered from the power of sin and the authority of Satan's rule and brought into God's Kingdom. The New Birth is a new beginning, bringing God's life, wisdom, righteousness, and holiness to the believer. (Romans 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:4-7)
Water Baptism and the Lord's Supper
We believe that water baptism by immersion and the communion of the Lord's Supper are New Testament ordinances and are to be observed and practiced by believers. We believe that both of these ordinances must be observed in faith. The water used in baptism and the bread and wine used in communion do not have the power in themselves to change man. It is the faith that we release at the time of these ordinances that God's power responds to, and brings change to, man. Because we believe in the priesthood of believers, we believe the administration of such ordinances is not limited to ordained or licensed ministers.
(John 3:21; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12;19:5; 1Corinthians 11:23-32; 1Peter 2:5,9)
Baptism of The Holy Spirit
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God promised by the Lord Jesus Christ to all believers. The Holy Spirit is received by faith subsequent to the New Birth. The Holy Spirit enables the believer to walk in the power of God, live a holy life, manifest the fruit of the Spirit, and be a witness of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit guides the believer into the truth of God's Word and brings insight into the future. The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Godhead who brings comfort and help to the believer. He causes us to know, understand, and do the will of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God the Father distributes various gifts to each believer and places them in the Body of Christ as it pleases Him. We believe in the continuing operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as enumerated in 1Corinthians 12-14 and as experienced in the early church of Acts. Initial evidence of this experience is the ability to speak in other tongues as enabled by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11; John 14:16,17; Acts 1:8)
Sanctification is a definite, yet progressive work of grace, commencing at the time of regeneration and continuing until the consummation of our salvation or "glorification."
(Hebrews 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Peter 3:18; Philippians 3:12-14; 1Corinthians 1:30)
Sanctification refers to a “setting apart”. Even though Christians are in the world, they are not of the world. Their lifestyle should be according to the righteous and holy standard revealed in God's Word. The Bible teaches that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord”. To live a holy life is to live free from sin. God has delivered us from the authority of sin so we might serve Him in newness of life. We are commanded to separate ourselves from all unclean things of the flesh and every unclean spirit and “to perfect holiness in the fear of God”. (Romans 6:4-14; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
Faith and Works
We believe that faith without works is dead. As a matter of the fundamental beliefs and doctrines of this church, we believe that nothing can be genuinely believed without there being an accompanying and corresponding action. Our faith is an active faith that requires the doing of deeds in the world. Our faith is not a passive or complacent system of intellectual belief or assent to doctrine, but is an active force in our lives that requires that action be taken. A living, active faith will be manifested not only in belief and mental assent, but in actions expressed and based upon that belief. (James 2:14-17; Ephesians 2:8-10; Matthew 5:16; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 2:23, 22:12)
Resurection of the Dead and the Return of the Lord
When Jesus ascended into Heaven, the angels said, “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner.” According to Scripture, Jesus is coming back to the earth again. We believe in the visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ to this earth to gather His Church (Bride) and judge the world. When He comes, “…the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” We will ultimately return with Him to the earth, where we will reign with Him.
(Matthew 5:5; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17)
Hell and Eternal Retribution
The one who physically dies in his sins without believing in and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is hopelessly and eternally lost. He shall be forever banished from God's presence and shall spend eternity in the Lake of Fire . He shall have no further opportunity of hearing the Gospel or repenting of his sins. The Lake of Fire is real. The terms “eternal” and “everlasting” used in describing the duration of punishment of the damned in the Lake of Fire carry the same thought and meaning of endless existence as used in describing the duration of joy and ecstasy of the saints with God in Heaven.
(Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 19:20)
We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ expressed as the church individual, the church local, and the church universal and invisible (all saints of all places and all times united together under one Lord). As such, we believe the church to be more than just a building or a gathering of people. It is a body living in relationship and harmony under the direction of the head, Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 6:15; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Romans 16:5; 1 Peter 2:4,5; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Romans 12:4,5; Ephesians 4:11-16) The local church is an expression of the community and fellowship of God. The Body of Christ in the earth is an intimate community of believers who are devoted to apostolic teaching, fellowship, discipleship to breaking of bread, prayer and evangelizing. The local body will meet together regularly as a whole in celebration services and from house to house in smaller groups called Life Groups. Life Groups consist of relationships between a small number of people who meet to help one another grow in the faith. As in the early church, we consider the fellowship of the saints together in the private homes of the members to be an expression of the church. Indeed to this end, the Word of God frequently refers to the church as a “household”. (Matthew 16:13-20; 18:15 -20; Acts 2:41-47; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2;19; 1 Peter 2:5; Acts 18:8; Romans 16:5, 10, 11; 1 Corinthians 1:11,16; 16:15, 19; Colossians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:19)
The Leadership of the Holy Spirit
We believe that in all matters concerning the Body of Christ, in its direction, discipline,ministry and functioning, that specific guidance, instruction, revelation, and discernment of truth from falsehood is available by the leading of the Holy Spirit who enables us to know spiritual things by the Spirit. (Acts 13:1-3; 1Timothy 1:18; Romans 8:14; 1Timothy 5:22; John 16:13-15; 1Corinthians 5:3; Revelation 2:7)
We believe that God has designed His Church to be governed by a Theocracy. We believe that there is always a God-called individual who is the presiding leader in any church government raised up by God. (Numbers 27:16) That person is a “first among equals”, “Set Man”, “Chief Elder”, or “Senior Pastor”. We believe that this person will be an ascension gift of ministry, not necessarily a pastor in gifting. The Set Man will be the person through whom the “dream from God” for the church flows. The Set Man will receive, articulate, and develop this dream in the church. He has final responsibility and decision making authority in the matters of the church. He will be recognized by the grace, anointing, ability, and vision given to him by God. (Numbers 27:15-22; 1 Corinthians 12:18; Ephesians 4:11; Acts 13:1-3) God will raise up other ascension gifts to function as leaders with, and in relationship to, the Set Man. We believe that there must be a mutual submission and accountability within the church, in its government and in its congregation. We believe that a local church in which Jesus Christ is the Head, should be apostolic in nature and governed by His delegated authorities. Therefore, “Eldership” is responsible, when it is deemed best for the life of the church and the testimony of the Lord, to discipline in a spirit of love any member who departs from the faith according to the Word of God. This government must not be intrusive and controlling, but righteous, holy and firm. We believe “Eldership”, with its “Set Man” in place, is responsible to God and the people to make ready the Church (the Bride) for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Groom) were we will rejoice at the marriage supper of the lamb.
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is, by its nature and composition, a membership organization. All those who have believed in and received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are members of Christ's Church. The local church is the manifestation, within our society, of Christ's Church. Each local church exists for an express purpose in God's plan. As a result, individual members of the Body of Christ will desire to associate with our congregation as members. The Lord will set some members of His Church into this local congregation as members as it pleases Him. Members must be submitted to Christ, the Lord, and the delegated authorities that He has set in places of leadership. Members must abide by all governing documents (i.e. Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, Operations Manual, Articles for Membership, etc.). Members shall enjoy various privileges and benefits that shall be established by the leadership of the local church. Those who desire to work in ministry positions in or as an extension of the local church shall agree to abide by all membership requirements and a Ministry Covenant or other such documents that from time to time may be established by the Eldership. The local church is owned by the Lord Jesus Christ who has entrusted the care of the flock to the leadership He has raised up in that city or place. Members of the local church are given into the care and oversight of its leadership who must give an account to God for their souls. The Set Man and the Elders of a local church shall have the right to determine who may attend church meetings and functions and who may not. It is not a place of public accommodation, nor is it a public institution, and its property is not a public place but is, rather, private property belonging to the local church. (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 6:5; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 2 John 9-11; Titus 3:10,11; Romans 16:17)
We believe, as members of the same body of Christ, being baptized by one spirit into one body, that we must endeavor to keep unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and as such we are precluded from bringing a lawsuit in a civil court against another person who professes to be a Christian or against a Christian ministry. We believe that all disputes must be resolved within the Body of Christ without taking them before unbelievers for judgment.
(1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:3-6)
We believe that the Scriptures are clear concerning helping those in need. We are commanded to do good to all people as we have opportunity, with a special emphasis upon caring for those who profess to be fellow Christians, especially those of our own fellowship of believers. We also are commanded to minister to the needs of the hungry, the naked, those in prison, widows and orphans. We are commanded to be generous and willing to share, laying up treasure for ourselves in Heaven by our kindness and generosity in this life. This is true for the corporate church as well as for the individual members of the church. Therefore, in accordance with these and other biblical commands, as a fundamental aspect of the practice of our faith, we will share of our material goods with those in need and will minister to them to the best of our abilities, whatever the need may be. (Proverbs 25:21; Isaiah 58:10; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:18,19; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:15,16)
Laying on of Hands, Healing, and Deliverance
The laying on of hands is a biblical practice. Jesus practiced it as a blessing. (Mark 10:13-16)
And it is our grounds for baby dedication. We believe in the laying on of hands for healing.
(Mark 5:22 ,23,41; Mark 5:28-31; Acts 28:8; Acts 19:11,12) Laying on hands to confer office. (Acts 6:2-6) Laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-18) To receive a particular impartation or anointing from God. (1 Timothy 4:14) Laying on of hands for appointment to leadership. (1 Timothy 4:14)
Sickness and disease are a curse on human life and were released into the world as a result of Adam's sin. It is God's will that we “prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers.” God has made provision for healing in and through His Word and through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Healing can be realized through the prayer of faith, by the laying on of hands, and by the gift of healing. (Psalm 107:20; James 5:15; 1 Peter 2:24; Mark 16:18; Matthew 8:16,17; Isaiah 53:4,5; 1 Corinthians 12:9) Sin, including the sin of unforgiveness, can hinder or prevent healing from being received. It is expected that the believer will live a life that encourages health and well being, thus cooperating with the laws of God which promote good health. We recognize that God has given us various natural means and medical science, which also serve to encourage life and health. At the same time, we acknowledge that all healing comes from God.
The need for deliverance is manifested by an inability to be free from a bondage: (e.g. mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual,) normally associated with demon activity. It is God's desire to bring deliverance to His people. (Job 5:19; Psalm 91:3; Hebrews 2:14,15; 2 Peter 2:9) We have been granted authority in the name of Jesus to bring deliverance to others. (Mark 16:17; John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) We must understand that our warfare is with the forces of evil. (Ephesians 6:12) Our weapon is the Word of God, our authority and power is from Jesus Himself. (Mark 16:17; Acts 1:8) And the battlefield is first of all in the spiritual realms. (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:22,2)
Relationship of Church and State
God has entrusted the church with the solemn Biblical responsibility of being the conscience of society, culture, and government. As such, the church has a duty before God to speak to the issues that arise from and relate to society, culture and government. Specifically, the church, in the tradition of the Prophets, is required to call government to account before God for the actions taken by government with the view toward keeping government in its proper role and relationship as a steward under God of the resources of the nation. (1 Kings 18:18; 2 Chronicles 15:1-4; Matthew 5:13,14; Acts 12:20-23; 1Samuel 15:14 -35) The church has a divine mandate to practice its faith as dictated by God. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. The church is the blood-bought bride of Christ, of whom Jesus is the Head, the Lord, and the only Master. As such, we categorically reject any and all claims by the state to headship or sovereignty over the church. When earthly governments leave their God-ordained sphere of responsibility and seek to restrain, hamper or limit the church's obedience to Christ in all areas of life, then the church must and will obey God rather than man and must also confront the government with its error and call it back to its proper place under God. (Exodus 8,9,10; Daniel 3:1-30; 6:1-28; Acts 4:19 ; 5:29)
We believe that Scriptures instruct members of the congregation to support the local church through tithes and offerings in proportion as the Lord has prospered them; thereby, acknowledging that any institution can continue or be of full and meaningful service only in proportion as all of the members of the congregation accept their responsibility of faithfully supporting and maintaining it. We believe that the supporting of God ordained ministry is in obedience to the Lord and it should be a joy for believers to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in this manner. (Malachi 3:6-12; Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 7:1-10; Matthew 23:23; 2 Corinthians 8,9; Acts 20:35)
Priesthood of Believers
We believe that each believer is a priest of the Lord Jesus Christ and has direct access to the Father through the Lord Jesus. Each person must believe for himself, be baptized for himself, obey for himself and answer to his creator for himself. (Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9)