What We Believe

1. Doctrine of Scripture

We believe the Bible, a closed canon of 66 books, to be the only inspired written revelation of God. Men "were carried along by the Holy Spirit" to write the words of Scripture. These original writings (autographs) were without error; the copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent they faithfully represent the original manuscripts. The Bible is God's infallible (true/reliant) and authoritative standard for Christian faith, thought and practice. Responsible reading and interpretation of the Bible must be done in light of its intended purpose of revealing God's will for the redemption of sinful people through his Son Jesus Christ. We are mindful of the responsibility and honor that is ours to "correctly handle the word of truth" (Psalm 119:105,160, II Timothy 2:15, II Timothy 3:14-17, II Peter 1:19-21).

2. Doctrine of God

We believe in the one, true and living God, the Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of the universe (Genesis 1:1, Deuteronomy 6:4, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16), who has eternally existed in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16- 17, Matthew 28:19, John 1:1, John 10:30, Galatians 4:4-6, Hebrews 9:14).

3. Doctrine of Jesus Christ

We believe in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God (John 1:1), who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, took on human nature yet was without sin (Matthew 1:18-25, John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:7, Hebrews 4: 15). Jesus is fully God and fully man (John 10:30, 38, Hebrews 1:3).

4. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

We believe in the deity and person of the Holy Spirit, who convicts men of their sin and need for salvation (John 16:7-8), draws them to the Savior, causes them to be born again spiritually (regeneration) (John 3:5, 6:63), indwells every true believer and fills each one as he/she surrenders to his will (John 7:38-39, I Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:8). He bestows spiritual gifts to serve God through his church (I Corinthians 12) and provides guidance, power and understanding of spiritual truth (John 16:13-15, Acts 1:8, Romans 8:1-16,26-27, Galatians 5:16-25).

5. Doctrine of Man

We believe that man was created in the image of God as male and female (Genesis 1:27). All human beings are equal in value and designed for relationship (fellowship) with God and each other (Galatians 3:28, I John 1:3-4). Man sinned (Romans 5:12, 18) and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death (separation from God); everyone is born with a sinful nature (Genesis 2:17, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:10-23, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1-3).

6. Doctrine of Atonement/Justification

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate and died for sinners (Isaiah 53, Romans 5:6-8, I Corinthians 15:3, I John 2:2) as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice (II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24, I John 4:10), and that all who place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are justified (declared righteous) by grace alone on the basis of his shed blood (Acts 13:39, Romans 3:24, 4:24, 5:1,9, Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 9:22).

7. Doctrine of Sanctification

We believe that salvation is God's gift (which cannot be merited by anyone through his/her own effort), and everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ should desire to respond with a life characterized by gratitude and good works (Ephesians 2:10). After trusting in Christ, we must choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as he transforms us to Christlikeness (Ephesians 4:11-13, Philippians 2:12-13, Colossians 1:28-29). A believer loves God by walking in obedience (holiness) to the commands of God contained in Scripture and will persevere in it by faith in God's keeping power (Ephesians 1:4, II Timothy 1:9, I Peter 1:2,5,14-16). In the world but not of it (John 15:19, 17:14), we must relate to the world as both aliens/strangers (Hebrews 11:13-16) and as ambassadors/witnesses (Acts 1:8, II Corinthians 5:18-20) to make Christ known among the nations (Matthew 28:18-20) as we "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).

8. Doctrine of the Resurrection and Ascension

We believe in the bodily resurrection (John 20:11-29, Acts 1:3, 3:15, I Corinthians 15:3- 8) and visible ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Father in heaven (Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9-11, Ephesians 1:20-22, Hebrews 1:3) where he rules his kingdom (I Corinthians 15:24-28, Philippians 2:9-11), intercedes as High Priest for his people (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:25) and prepares a place for each of them (John 14:1-4).

9. Doctrine of the Church

We believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18), described as the "body of Christ" (I Corinthians 12:12-27), and is composed of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12, 3:16-18, Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:1-10). The purpose of the Church is to join God in bringing the gospel to all people groups (Matthew 28:18-20, Revelation 7:9).

10. Doctrine of Ordinances

We believe in the holy ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These two ordinances are direct commands to believers from Jesus. Baptism is an initiatory rite to the Christian faith (Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:34-39, Romans 6:3-4), and the Lord's Supper is an ongoing memorial and proclamation of Christ's death for our sins until he returns (Luke 22:19-20, I Corinthians 11:23-29).

11. Doctrine of Angels and Demons

We believe in the existence of immaterial spiritual beings who were created by God. Angels are sinless, ministering spirits whom God sends to serve the Church (Hebrews 1:14). Demons are fallen angels (II Peter 2:4) who chose to join Lucifer (Satan), a fallen angel himself, in his rebellion against God (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:11-19). Cast out of heaven, Satan and his demons malevolently oppose God's work on earth until they are "thrown into the lake of fire" (Ephesians 6:11-12, Revelation 12:7-17, 20:10).

12. Doctrine of Last Things/Future Events

We believe in "the blessed hope"-the imminent, visible return of Jesus Christ to Earth (Matthew 24:27, I Thessalonians 4:16-17, Titus 2:13). For all people there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual (I Corinthians 15, II Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:11-15). Believers will enjoy everlasting life in the presence of their Lord and will be rewarded for works done in this life (I Corinthians 3:8, Ephesians 6:8). For rejecting Jesus Christ unbelievers will be condemned to everlasting, conscious punishment, forever separated from him (Matthew 25:46, Revelation 20:15).

Baptism

What do we believe?
Baptism is a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When you are baptized, you are giving testimony to the fact that you have put aside your old sinful life and have accepted the life that Christ has given you through His death and resurrection. In short, you are telling the world that you are dead to sin but alive in Christ! In baptism you have announced to the church that you are making a commitment to God to become a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Who should be baptized?
All those who have trusted Christ as their Savior should be baptized. Remember, this is a public statement of your trust in Christ. If you do not believe in Jesus, you would have nothing to profess.

Why should we be baptized?
We are to be baptized because we are to be obedient to Christ. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 to "make disciples" and to "baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all I have commanded you, and I will be with you always, even to the very end of the days." There are numerous other accounts in the Bible where we see those who believe in Christ being baptized (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 10:47-48; 16:15,33; 18:8; 19:5). The precedent was set by Christ and his apostles and is still an important step toward Christian maturity.

If you are interested in being baptized, please fill out an information card on Sunday morning, or E-mail Nancy Rapp and request information about the next baptism celebration.