We teach the 66 books of the Bible as being the inspired Word of God, without error in the original language, holding the highest level of authority, sufficient, and revealing God’s will for man (Psalm 19:7-11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
The Bible is essential and leads us to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Each book is to be interpreted according to the literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of Scripture. We exhort every believer to study the Bible regularly and apply God’s Word to their hearts and actions. We also believe that the Scriptures are complete and sufficient. They must not be altered or added to in any way. Every theological statement must be tested by God’s Word found in the Scriptures (John 7:17).
There is only one living God who eternally exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 10:30). He is:
God the Father
He is the Creator of heaven and earth and all things exist for His glory alone. He is the supreme ruler of the universe and His fatherhood involves both His role within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. He is the Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but only a spiritual Father to believers (Romans 8:14) who are reunited in a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
God the Son
He is the eternal Word made Flesh (John 1:14) and conceived by the Holy Spirit in virgin birth (Matthew 1:23). He lived a sinless life in complete obedience to the Father (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26), so that He could become the perfect atonement for the sins of man (Hebrews 2:9, 1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:7), resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:4), joining the Father at His right hand (Mark 16:19), intercedes for His people (Hebrews 7:25), and is coming again in all power and glory (Revelation 19:11-16).
God the Spirit
He is one who gives life and convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He empowers believers to understand Scripture and walk in holiness (2 Corinthians 2:11). Every Christian is baptized into the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) and equipped with His internal dwelling (Romans 5:9) to be further shaped into the image of Christ to glorify the Father.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God (James 3:9); however, tempted by Satan, Adam sinned and the human race inherited a sin nature. This separated man from God, but did not change their responsibility to Him. Thus, man became completely depraved and subject to the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3; Mark 7:21). Apart from the grace of salvation, man is spiritually dead and unable to reunite in their relationship with God with their own works (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9).
Redemption from this fallen world is a sovereign act of God. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary to bring man from spiritual death to spiritual life. Without spiritual regeneration, man is doomed to suffer the holy justice of God in hell. Men who are spiritually regenerated are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. It is not on the basis of any human works or merit (John 1:12, 3:16-19; Ephesians 1:7, 29-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected; those who are saved unto the resurrection of life, and those who are not unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29). Saving faith is the God-given conviction that the resurrection of Christ is real and it moves the human heart to ask God for forgiveness and the free gift of everlasting life. Because Jesus lives, man can live (John 11:25).
God calls His children to separate themselves from sin and brings them into universal fellowship with one another in Christ (Romans 12:1-2). By His Word and His Spirit, He preserves all of His children forever (Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; John 5:24; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8). The head of the church is Christ and it exists to glorify and worship God and to fulfill His will on earth (Ephesians 3:21). Upon conversion, every believer should be directed to a local church to dedicate themselves to biblical baptism, teaching, fellowship, giving, discipleship, evangelism, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer (1 Corinthians 11:18-22; Hebrews 10:25; Matthew 28:19-20). Believers are spiritually united in Christ (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:26-28) and are enabled by the ministry of the Holy Spirit to live a godly life (Romans 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20; Ephesians 4:30, 5:18).
We believe that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
It is commanded that the whole church walk in obedience to Christ to go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every living creature (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20).
“Church discipline” is the theological term used to describe the process Scripture outlines for dealing with sin in the flock. It’s a fitting term because, as with parental discipline, the main goal of church discipline is correction. It is successful when it brings about repentance and reconciliation. When it is unsuccessful, it ends in excommunication. But restoration of the sinner is always the desired goal. Church discipline is the responsibility of the entire church and is absolutely necessary to protect the holiness of the flock and the purity of God’s church.
Step One: Private Confrontation. If we recognize a situation that warrants discipline and our responsibility to initiate that process, how should we go about it? Jesus provides us with the answer: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private” (Matthew 28:15). If you see your brother in sin, you must go. Jesus was clear that this first phase must be done “in private.” There is no need to involve others in the first stage. Don’t gossip about the offense with others, even under the guise of seeking prayer support. Just go quietly to your brother; tell him his fault between you and him alone. If the first step of discipline results in repentance, then that will be the end of the process. Unfortunately, those who remain unrepentant require the next step in church discipline.
Step Two: Bring Witnesses. Unrepentant sin is a deadly spiritual cancer. It cannot be allowed to fester and corrupt the Body of Christ. Christ gave the second step, “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed” (Matthew 18:16).Whatever the response of the offender, if it is not repentance—and assuming you are certain of his guilt—you must now take one or two other believers with you and confront them again. Each of you must carefully, patiently, lovingly show them their sin again. In many cases the person confronted will respond to this second step with repentance. If so, the matter is settled. If not, the disciplinary process continues to step three.
Step Three: Telling the Church. The first step in that pattern is a private confrontation with the sinning member. If there’s no repentance, the next step is to confront the person with one or two witnesses. If the offender still refuses to repent, Jesus’ instructions are clear: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church” (Matthew 18:17). The church is to be told about the person’s sin, not as a matter for gossip or public ridicule, but to enlist the help of the entire congregation in appealing to the sinning one. Only after the church has had an opportunity to try to restore the sinning person is step four taken because of their unrepentance.
Step Four: Excommunication. Further impenitence at this point demands the final step in the discipline process—excommunication: “If he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:17). This does not call for heaping scorn on the person. It is not a command to treat the person badly. It simply means that the person is to be regarded as an unbeliever. The repeated hardening of his heart calls the reality of his faith into question. From henceforth, he should be regarded as an evangelistic prospect rather than a brother in the Lord. If the offender at any time demonstrates genuine repentance, he is to be welcomed back into the fellowship. But until that point, he is to be regarded as an outsider.