Extended Statement of Beliefs

The following statement of faith outlines the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members.

Expanded Statement of Beliefs

Preamble

We acknowledge that every congregation must experience reformation as an ongoing part of maintaining a healthy and vibrant body focused on the mission of Christ. To that end, we periodically revisit all of our governing documents to ensure they reflect the current state of our scriptural understanding. 


At this writing (Summer 2020), the majority of our congregants have backgrounds emanating from evangelical roots of the Southern Baptist Convention. Previously, our Articles of Faith were a direct adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, from which this new Expanded Statement of Beliefs has largely evolved. We are also grateful to Billy Graham, John Stott, and those associated with the Lausanne Covenant. We find the Lausanne Covenant to be a beautiful expression of cooperation to evangelize the world and to engage in making disciples. We find their courage to address social issues, injustices, and to take risks to make disciples as inspirational to our own church and its context.


It is our prayer that this Expanded Statement of Beliefs will articulate the doctrinal foundation which unites us as we reach the world for Jesus Christ by making disciples who make disciples.

Bible

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of himself to mankind. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is himself the focus of divine revelation. 


Psalm 19:7-10; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:17-18; John 17:17; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19-21. 

God

There is one eternal God who has revealed himself to mankind as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the creator and Lord of the world and governs all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his Kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of his name. 


Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; John 1:1-5, Ephesians 4:4-6.


A. The Father:


God, the Father, reigns with providential care over his universe, his creatures, and human history according to the purposes of his will and grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. 


Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14, 6:2-3; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 19:1-3; Jeremiah 10:10; Matthew 6:9-13, 23:9; Mark 1:9-11; John 5:26, 10:29, 17:1-8; 1 Corinthians 8:6.


B. The Son:


Christ is the eternal Son of God. In his incarnation as Jesus Christ, he was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying himself completely with humanity, yet without sin. He honored both the divine law and the will of his Father through his personal obedience, and in his substitutionary death on the cross he made provision for the redemption of people from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to his disciples as the person who was with them before his crucifixion. He ascended into Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where he is the one mediator, fully God, fully human, in whose person is effected the reconciliation between God and humanity. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate his redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord. 


Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-23, 14:33, 16:16,27; Mark 3:11; Luke 22:70; John 1:14-18, 11:25-27, 17:3; Acts 2:22-24; Romans 3:23-26, 5:6-21, 8:1- 3; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 1 Timothy 1:16-17; Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 John 1:7-9, 4:14-15; Revelation 19:16. 


C. The Holy Spirit:


The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the scriptures. Through illumination, he enables mankind to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls people to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the very moment of regeneration, he baptizes every believer into the body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through his church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, discipleship, and service. 


Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; John 7:38-39, 14:16-17, 16:7-14; Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, 2:38, 4:31; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, 3:16; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13. 


Humanity

Humanity is God’s special creation made in his own image. He created both male and female to reflect the goodness of his creation. In the beginning, mankind was innocent of sin and was endowed by their creator with freedom of choice. By free choice, Adam and Eve sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan, Adam and Eve rebelled against the command of God, and fell from their original innocence. Now, all humans inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin; therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring mankind into his holy fellowship and enable people to fulfill their God-given purpose. The sacredness of human life is evident in that God created humanity in his own image, and in that Christ died for humanity; therefore, every individual, both male and female, of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. 


Genesis 1:26-30, 2:5, 2:7, 2:18-22; Psalm 8:3-6; Matthew 16:24-26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 3:10-18, 3:23, 5:6, 5:12, 5:19; Ephesians 2:1-22.

Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole human, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who, by his own blood, obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense, salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification, and resurrection. There is no salvation apart from personal faith and confession in Jesus Christ as Lord. 


A. Regeneration:


Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is displayed through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and is the commitment of self to him as Lord and Savior. 


B. Justification:


Justification is the gracious and full acquittal of all sinners who repent and believe in him, whereby God’s righteousness is credited to every believer. Justification brings the believer into a new relationship of peace and favor with God. 


C. Sanctification:


Sanctification is the experience, beginning at regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Growth in grace is a process that should continue throughout the believer’s life. 


D. Glorification:


Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed at the resurrection. 


E. Resurrection:


Resurrection of the believer is the future hope of their spirit being reembodied to inhabit the new Heaven and Earth, thus fulfilling their divine vocation to rule and reign with Christ. Conversely, the resurrection of the unbeliever refers to the final judgment and eternal separation from God for those who do not accept his salvation.


John 1:11-14, 1:29, 3:3-21, 3:36, 5:24, 10:9, 10:28-29; Acts 2:21, 4:12, 15:11, 16:30-31; Romans 3:23-25, 4:3-25, 5:8-10, 6:1-23, 10:9-10, 10:13; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 2:20, 5:22-25; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10, 4:11-16; Colossians 3:1-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Titus 2:11-14; James 2:14-17; 1 Peter 1:13-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11.


The Church

The New Testament speaks of the church as the body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. Its scriptural officers are Pastors (Bishops), Elders, and Deacons. The church’s mission is to reach the world for Jesus Christ by making disciples who make disciples.


The Bible also speaks of a church as a local, autonomous congregation of baptized believers who are associated by a covenant and ruled by the Bible. Each congregation will decide when, where, and how it will meet. Each congregation has the liberty to establish its own governing structure and processes within biblical guidelines.


Acts 2:46-47, 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; 1 Peter 5:1-4.

The Church Ordinances

A. Baptism:


Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience: symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to their faith in the final resurrection of the dead.


Baptism, being a church ordinance, is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to participation in communion. Baptism is an integral command and charge from Jesus to all his followers, and as such, believers are to make and baptize their own disciples as they work to fulfill the Great Commission.


B. Communion:


Communion (also referred to as the Lord's Supper) is a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the cup, memorialize the death of Jesus in anticipation of his second coming. 


Matthew 3:13-17, 26:26-29, 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 8:35-39, 16:30-33; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 10:21, 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12. 


The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both his general sovereignty over the universe and his particular kingship over all those who willfully acknowledge him as King. Believers enter into the Kingdom of God upon salvation. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. We believe that Jesus launched the Kingdom of God during his earthly ministry. The complete fulfillment of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ at the end of this age. 


Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Daniel 7:9-14; Matthew 3:2, 4:1-25, 12:28, 13:1-52; Mark 1:14-15, 9:1; Luke 8:1, 9:2, 17:20-21, 23:42; John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 5:10, 11:15, 21-22. 

Last Things

Jesus will return again to merge Heaven and Earth. The new Heaven and Earth will be a temple filled with resurrected believers who are restored as images of the living God in their physical, glorified bodies. In the renewed Earth, the believers will once again live out their divine vocation reigning with Jesus, while the unbelievers will be separated and consigned to the place of eternal punishment. 


Matthew 24:29-31, 25:31-46; Luke 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15; Ephesians 1:9-10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-12; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:24-28; 1 John 2:28, 3:2; Jude 1:14; Revelation 1:18, 3:11, 3:20–22.

Evangelism and Missions

A. The Nature of Evangelism:


To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind, was raised from the dead according to the scriptures, and that, as the reigning Lord, he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Evangelism is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation, the believer has no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and find their identity in him. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his church, and responsible service in the world.


Mark 8:34, 16:15; Luke 14:25-33; John 20:21; Acts 2:32-47; 1 Corinthians 1:23, 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:5, 5:11, 5:20.


B. Christian Social Responsibility: 


God is both the creator and the judge of all mankind, therefore the church should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person has intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Evangelism and socio-political involvement are part of the Christian’s duty, for both are necessary expressions of their beliefs and love for their neighbors. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression, and discrimination. The church should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ, they are born again into his Kingdom. They must now seek to exhibit righteousness and to spread it in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation of believers should be transforming in the totality of their personal and social responsibilities, for faith without works is dead.


Genesis 1:26-27; Leviticus 19:9-18; Isaiah 1:17; Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:17-49; Romans 12:1-2; James 1:27, 2:14-26.


C. The Church and Evangelism: 


Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent Jesus. The church’s mission is a call to permeate the world with sacrificial service in evangelizing and making disciples. World evangelization is the call for every believer to participate in taking the gospel to every nation. The church is the community of God’s people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology.


Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; John 17:18, 20:21; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:9-12; Philippians 1:27.


D. Cooperation in Evangelism:


Evangelism also summons the church to unity, because oneness in Christ strengthens the church’s witness, just as disunity undermines the message of reconciliation. Believers should pledge themselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness, and mission. The church should urge cooperation for the furtherance of God’s mission, strategic planning, mutual encouragement, and the sharing of resources and experiences.


John 13:35, 17:11-23; Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 1:27.


E. Evangelism and other Cultures:


The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Therefore, making disciples in every culture is to be the priority in mission work. Launching these disciples will further the Kingdom in their own individual cultural context.


Acts 17:16-30; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:1-8.


Stewardship and Giving

God is the source of all material and spiritual blessings. Therefore, believers will gladly contribute of their financial means cheerfully and liberally for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Stewardship also includes (but is not limited to) the believer’s giving of their time, talent, and resources in service to the body of Christ.


Genesis 14:20, 28:20-22; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:16-21; Acts 2:42-47, 20:35; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Philippians 4:10-19.

The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to make the will of Christ supreme in their own lives and in human society. As citizens of God’s Kingdom, believers should work to care for those marginalized and in need. Christians should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the values and practices of the Kingdom of God.


Proverbs 22:22-23, 23:10-11; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5-6; Mark 1:29-34, 2:1-12; Luke 4:18-21, 10:27-37, 13:10-17; John 15:12; Romans 12:9-21, 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 7:20-24, 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-29; Colossians 3:12-17; Hebrews 13:1-3; James 1:27, 2:1-26.

Freedom and Persecution

It is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice, and liberty in which the church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. Therefore, believers are to pray for the leaders of nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practice and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God. The church should refuse to be intimidated by persecution, nor are they to forget the warnings of Jesus that persecution is inevitable. With God’s help, believers should seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost.


Matthew 5:10-12; Mark 8:34-35; John 15:18-21; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Peter 3:8-18, 4:12-14; Revelation 2:10, 12:11.

The Family

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage is God’s gift for humanity to experience intimate companionship, sexual expression, and the blessing of procreation. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, as both are created in his image. The man and the woman are to mutually submit in love and respect to one another. By doing so, parents model God’s pattern for marriage to their children. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values. Parents are the ultimate disciple-makers and have the primary responsibility for the spiritual formation of their children.


Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; Psalm 78:1-8, 127:3, 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8, 6:20-22; Matthew 19:3-9; Ephesians 5:21, 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8

Fidelity to this Statement of Beliefs

This Statement of Beliefs is not exhaustive, however, we believe it accurately represents the teaching of the Bible. All content and teaching material used in the ministries of this church shall be in agreement with the Bible and this Statement of Beliefs.