STATEMENT OF FAITH
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God, and that it was given through the instrumentation of chosen men. Scripture thus at one and the same time speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are the unique, full and final authority on all matters on which they speak, and that there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
We believe that there is one true God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses equally all attributes of the Deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created the world out of nothing and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of his power, wisdom and goodness. By his sovereign power, he continues to sustain his creation, and by his providence he orders the affairs of men and nations according to his own wise, eternal plan.
The central purpose of God's revelation in Scripture is to call men into fellowship with him. Originally created to have fellowship with God, man chose to go his own independent way. Thus alienated from God, man suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all men since have suffered these consequences and are thus in need of the saving grace of God. The salvation of men is, then, wholly a work of God's free grace—not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness—and is appropriated by faith alone. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any man, he gives assurance in his word that he will go on performing it until the day of its full consummation.
The saving object of faith is Jesus Christ, the eternal second person of the Trinity, who was united forever with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of men by dying on the cross as their substitute, shedding his blood as the propitiation for our sins, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22), thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which he lived and died. He ascended bodily into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father where he, the only mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for his own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. He has instituted two ordinances—baptism and the Lord's Supper—to bear witness through visible symbols to his saving work.
The Christian Life
The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ is a life of holiness and obedience wrought in the believer by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to men the saving work of Christ. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them a recognition of their need of the Savior, regenerates them, and at the point of salvation permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, strength, wisdom and guidance. His power and control are appropriated by faith, enabling the believer to live a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
The consummation of God's saving work embraces the whole man—body, soul and spirit. For all men there is a life to come, resurrection of the body and a future judgment. At physical death, the believer enters immediately into eternal conscious fellowship with the Lord; the nonbeliever enters into eternal conscious separation from the Lord and bodies of all the dead shall be raised—some to a resurrection of glory, some to a resurrection of condemnation. There are two aspects of the righteous judgment of God: The judgment of believers reveals the quality of works done in the body for the purpose of bestowing rewards, there being no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; the judgment of nonbelievers reveals the depth of sin and the justice of God in allowing people to perpetuate in eternity their rejection of God.
The corollary of union with Jesus Christ is that all believers become members one of another. There is one true universal church, which is composed of all people everywhere, living and dead, who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation, without regard to organizational affiliation. God commands us to assemble together for the purposes of worship, edification and mutual encouragement; wherever God's people meet in obedience to this command there is a local expression of the church. It is the responsibility of each member to keep the unity of the Spirit for the building up of the Body, to work with other members of the fellowship to show Christian concern for the needs of people everywhere, and to fulfill our Lord's final command to his church: to spread the good news of redemption throughout the world.