With Regard to the Bible
- The Bible is composed of the sixty-six books universally recognized as canonical by all orthodox Christians.
- The original manuscripts were wholly and verbally inspired by God, written by men who were prepared and superintended by the Holy Spirit. These manuscripts are inerrant, infallible, and wholly authoritative. The Bible stands alone in this regard.
- Though the autographs are no longer extant, the available reconstructions of the original text of Scripture, while not inerrant, are attested by good evidence to be of the highest accuracy, and may for all intents and purposes be regarded as having the authority of the originals. Variances between reconstructed texts are wholly inconsequential.
- There are no extraordinary problems in translating the Bible and today a number of reliable translations exist. While these translations may vary in scholarship and purpose, no particular translation makes any claim to divine inspiration or authority, nor can any such claim be made for it.
- Scripture is to be interpreted according to the normal understanding of syntax, grammar, and literary style and within its historical and cultural context. Appropriate applications of Scripture may be many and vary with the reader. Correct interpretation of Scripture however, is universal, unchanging, and lies wholly in the intent of the author. As the Holy Spirit is the author behind the human author, He is the final authority with regard to interpretation and He assists the reader in both interpretation and application. However, this illumination is not infallibly received and no individual or institution can claim absolute, supernatural authority with regard to interpretation.
With Regard to the Nature of God
- We believe that God is one, eternal, self-existent, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, that He is the creator of all else that exists, and all truth proceeds from Him.
- We believe in the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, that is that God is one in being, yet existing in three persons, each co-equal and co-eternal and worthy of worship, distinct but inseparable: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that God the Father is head within the Godhead. The Son, the only begotten of the Father, came to earth to do His will, and as Jesus the man, submitted to the Father’s will. Likewise the Holy Spirit worked in Jesus, and now in the believer, to empower us to do the Father’s will.
- We believe that God the Son is one in person, yet possessed of two natures: human and divine.
- As touching His divine nature, He is fully God, of one being with the Father and the Holy Spirit, possessing all of the attributes of the godhead.
- As touching His human nature, He is of one being with us. He is our Lord Jesus Christ, begotten by the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, was tempted yet lived without sin in perfect obedience to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit, suffered a substitutionary death for the sin of mankind, was buried, bodily rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and will someday bodily return to gather His Church, judge mankind, and establish His Kingdom.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and indwells all believers. He inspired the written word of God and illuminates those who read it in good faith. He equips and empowers believers for service. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
With Regard to the Nature of Man, Salvation, and this World.
- We believe that God created man in His own image to love Him, to glorify Him, and to enjoy His fellowship forever. We believe that man was created in innocence, but with a free will that allowed him to choose to obey God or not. That is, he was not created with a nature that inclined or predisposed him to sin, but he had the ability to choose to sin.
- We believe that tempted by Satan, but by an act of his own will, man chose to disobey his creator, and that this choice resulted in death, both physical and spiritual, for man and all his posterity. We believe that death and all present evil in man and the natural world results from this fall. Since this fall man’s nature has been corrupted so as to incline him toward sin and to make perfect obedience to God impossible.
- We believe that the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God in His human nature, is the only sufficient remedy for the effect of man’s sin, and that salvation is only possible by God’s grace and through personal repentance and trust in Him alone.
- We believe that ultimately Christ will return to restore creation to a state free of all evil. We believe that those who have trusted in Him will be transformed to a perfect state free from sin and share eternal life with Him, and that those who have refused to believe will be condemned to an eternal death in the lake of fire.
With Regard to the Church.
- We believe that all believers are spiritually baptized into unity with Christ and the universal church at conversion.
- We believe that physical baptism was ordained by Christ and is symbolic of that spiritual baptism, and is not regarded as a means of salvation.
- We believe that partaking of the bread and wine in the communion service is symbolic of Christ’s body and blood and was ordained by Christ and is to remind us of his past suffering on our behalf, our present union with Him and all fellow believers, and His future bodily return.
- We believe that God carries out His will through the universal church and empowers individual believers in various gifts and ministries such that the church collectively has every resource necessary to carry out its mission.
- We believe that a local church is simply a local part of the universal church, and participation in the local church is necessary to the fulfillment of the believer’s mission within the universal church.