What We Believe

“In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.”
— Rupertus Meldenius (c. 1627)

Essentials, Plus Grace

We believe it’s important to be united with all who hold to the essential truths of Jesus Christ, while extending grace to one another in regard to all other doctrine. We do, however, have a distinct set of doctrines which we believe to be true and accurate, and we are committed to teaching that full gospel of Jesus Christ and of His Kingdom in a spirit of love.

The Trinity of God

The Lord our God is one God (Deu 6:4; Zec 14:9). He has revealed Himself to be eternally self-evident and self-existent as one being in three equal yet distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Gen 1:26; Isa 9:6, 43:10-11; Mat 3:16-17, 28:19; Luk 1:35; Joh 15:26; 2 Cor 13:14, 17-18; Eph 2:18; Heb 3:7-11). He continues to reveal Himself to mankind today, speaking to us and interacting with us as He always has. He is the only perfect, unchanging, limitless, completely just, all powerful, all knowing, always present, and always true God. He alone is the source of all things good and pure (Psa 25:8, 34:8, 100:5, 145:9; Jer 29:11; Act 10:38; 1 Cor 12:7; 2 Cor 9:8; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 2:10; Phi 1:6, 2:13; Col 1:10; 1 The 5:21; 2 The 1:11; 1 Tim 4:4; Heb 13:8; Jam 1:17). He is light and there is no darkness in Him (1 Joh 1:5).

God The Father

God the Father is the supreme ruler of everything (Psa 24:1), issuing commands and decrees (Psa 148:5-6) performed by God the Son, Jesus Christ (Act 2:22), by the power of God the Holy Spirit (Zec 4:6). He is eternal life, light, and love; the Father of mankind whom He created in His own image, and the Creator, King, and Redeemer of all creation (Rom 8:20-23), which He governs and sustains in righteousness and justice (Psa 89:14, 97, 103:6). God is good, God is a good Father, and God is in a good mood (Psa 34:8, 119:68, 136:1, 145:9; 1 Tim 4:4; Jam 1:17). We only see Him in the fullness of all His glory when we see His goodness (Exo 33:18-19; Rom. 2:4; 2 Pet 1:3).

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God and fully man, the only perfect and incorruptible physical expression of God, revealed since creation as the Word of God (Col 1:19, 2:9-10; Heb 1:2-3). He is the firstborn of all creation, through Him all things were created, and in Him all things hold together (Joh 1; Col 1; Heb 1). He is the Truth and the Life, the only way to God (Joh 14:6-7), the only mediator between God the Father and mankind (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 9:15). He was conceived as a man when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary (Isa 7:4; Mat 1:18-25), being born as the second Adam (1 Cor 15:45-49), uncorrupted by sin (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 Joh 3:5), in the original image and glory of God (Luk 1:31-35; 1 Cor 15:45-49). He laid down His power and rights as God and still lived a perfect, sinless life as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit and as an example for us all (Joh 5:19, 30; Phi 2:5-7; Heb 7:26; 1 Pet 2:22).

Jesus fully demonstrated God’s unchanging nature and will for mankind (Mal 3:6; Jam 1:17), performing the command of God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit (Joh 5:30, 8:29; Act 2:22, 10:38). He was crucified on a cross, buried, and after three days was resurrected bodily by God’s Spirit, appearing physically to many before ascending to the right hand of God the Father (Mat 27:32-28:10; Luk 24:13-49, 24:50-53; Act 1:9-11, 2:33; Heb 1:3). By His obedience, death, and resurrection, He fulfilled the Old Covenant and established a New Covenant between God and mankind, a new and living way (Jer 31:31-4; Luk 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:4-6; Heb 8-10). He became the fully effective and final atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Rom 6:10; Heb 9:12, 28; 1 Pet 3:18; 1 Joh 2:2), allowing all who believe to receive salvation by grace through faith, with all of it’s effects and benefits and to be fully restored into right relationship with God the Father (1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 1:3-14; 1 Pet 2:24). He is alive now in the presence of God and in His body, the Church (Rom 8:9-10; 1 Cor 12:27; Gal 3:26; Eph 2:19-22; Rev 1:17-18).

Holy Spirit

God the Holy Spirit is actively working in the earth today (Joh 14:15-18, 16:7-13, 20:22). He is the power of God (Act 10:38), bringing into manifestation the command of God the Father and the performance of God the Son in and through His body, the Church. He has a distinct personality and tangible presence. He reveals Jesus and draws mankind to the Father. He is the Spirit of Truth who helps, convicts, justifies, comforts, regenerates, sanctifies, indwells, empowers, anoints, and seals believers for the day of redemption (Eze 36:27; Isa 11:2; Luk 4:18-19; John 14:26, 16:8, 13; Act 1:8, 2, 4:31, 8:14-17, 9:31, 10:44-47, 11:15-17, 19:1-6; 1 Cor 3:16, 12, 19; 2 Cor 1:21-22, 5:5; Rom 5:5, 8:15-16, 26-27, 15:13; Eph 1:13-14, 4:30; Gal 3:5, 4:6-7, 6:8; 1 Pet 1:12; 1 The 1:4-5; 2 The 2:13; 2 Tim 1:14; Titus 3:5; Heb 2:4; 1 Joh 2:20, 27). He distributes the manifold grace of God to all who believe, never leaving or forsaking them. He hovered over the face of chaos during the creation of this world and brought forth order and beauty at the will of the Father, as expressed by His Word. Everything that God does is by His Spirit, and it is always good (Zec 4:6). He is the substance of life, the very life-giving breath of God (Gen 2:7; Psa 33:6; Joh 20:22).

Authority of the Bible

As a written expression of the testimony of Jesus Christ, who Himself is the Word of God, the Bible is the primary authoritative message of God, recorded in written form as men were inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Act 28:25; 2 Tim 3:16-17). It establishes what we are to believe and how we are meant to live in an experiential relationship with a living God. All spiritual experiences are founded upon the Bible, finding their precedence and validity within it. No one ever has or ever will have the authority to nullify, retract, or alter the words or commandments of Jesus Christ within the New Covenant which was ratified in His blood (Mat 26:28; Luk 22:20)—not through word, tradition, or practice (2 Pet 1:16-21).

Progressive Revelation

God Himself is Truth (Deu 32:4; Joh 14:6, 17:2-3, 17). His infinite and eternal nature itself proves that there is much that we do not yet know and understand (Joh 16:12-15; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 3:1-12). The Bible, on the other hand, is an account of God’s truth as revealed to mankind, which was made evident through the real lives of real people and their experiential interaction with a real and living God. Like all those before us, we are personally and corporately progressively growing into an understanding of God’s revealed truth.

At the same time, the Bible itself is a clear record of the fact that God is unfolding His eternal truth to mankind over the course of time (Pro 4:18). The Bible also acknowledges the existence of mysteries, some of which have now been revealed (Deu 29:29; Dan 2:30; 1 Cor 2:6-7). From our perspective, truth is always surrounded by mystery since we are perceiving the eternal truth of God from a finite perspective. Since God has always been progressively revealing truth to mankind, we place no limits on God—especially on His ability, desire, or will to release further revelation (Pro 25:2; Isa 42:9, 48:6-7; Mar 1:27; Rom 16:25-27; 1 Cor 15:51; Col 1:24-27; 1 Tim 3:9). However, we do believe that everything is to be substantiated and established by the standard and example of the Scriptures (2 Pet 1:16-21). It is also important to note that when we go beyond what has been clearly revealed, we tend to make assumptions that result in error and division within the Church, the body of Christ, often favoring one revealed truth while neglecting another.

Experiential Relationship

Jesus made it clear that we must move beyond simple knowledge and actually come to Him to receive eternal life, knowing Him relationally in spirit and in truth (Joh 5:39-40, 4:23-24; Rom 12:1). Pursuing a personal and daily lifestyle of experiential relationship with Him is foundational to being transformed into His image (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 3:18). Every believer is called to be a priest unto God through Christ, living in an ongoing encounter with the glory of His presence, and interacting directly with God for themselves (1 Pet 2:5, 2:9; Rev 1:6, 5:10). It is not enough to have mental knowledge of Him; we must live in the experience of His eternal life. Eternity is not just future, or even past; eternity is now. We must never deny knowledge in favor of experience, but we must realize that knowledge is designed to lead us into understanding through the experience of faith. This fact remains true: while experience may reveal truth, lack of experience never does. The Scriptures themselves are a record of experiences, not the lack thereof. Therefore, life with God is meant to be experienced—yesterday, today, and for all of eternity (Heb 13:8).

The Empowering of God

God the Father has chosen to give all of mankind gifts from birth, to make others available to some upon surrender to Jesus Christ, and to make others available through the Holy Spirit. All of these gifts can and should be developed through use and practice, and should be utilized for God’s glory. The Father graces all of mankind with natural abilities: perceiving, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, organization, and mercy (1 Cor 12:6; Rom 12:6-8). These gifts are often referred to as motivational gifts.

Ministry offices are the gifts of Jesus Christ. When Jesus ascended to Heaven after triumphing over death and the grave, He divided His personal ministry into five roles. He alone calls and commissions believers into these ministry offices and gives them as gifts to His body, the Church. These are known as the five-fold ministry offices of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher, which are given with a purpose “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” and given “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (1 Cor 12:5; Eph 4:11-16).

There is a baptism of the Holy Spirit available to all believers following salvation which is considered a vital experience for a disciple of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant (Joh 20:22; Act 2; 5:32, 8:12-17, 10:34-48, 19:1-6). The Holy Spirit desires to repeatedly fill, anoint, and empower all believers to boldly testify of and manifest the life of Christ (Luk 24:49, Act 1:8, 4:31, 13:52; 1 Cor 12). The Holy Spirit Himself is the gift (Act 2:33, 38-39, 10:45) and His power is made evident through believers in a variety of manifestations which are typically referred to as the nine gifts of the Spirit: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy, discerning of spirits, various tongues, interpretation of tongues, faith, healings, and miracles (1 Cor 12).

The Church & Five-Fold Leadership

The Church is the body of Jesus Christ on the earth (Eph 1:22-23, 5:23; Col 1:18, 2:19), the saints and sons of God, and consists of all who live by faith in Him alone, regardless of denomination or stream, race, or gender, and it includes those who have already passed into everlasting life in Him (Heb 9:15; Eph 1:11-14, 2:22). The Church has a mandate to put Jesus Christ on display by love throughout all creation in both word and power through the Holy Spirit, continuing the same work of faith that He did while He was in His single human body on the earth (Mat 28:18-20; Mar 16:20; Joh 14:12-14, 15:5, Rom 10:11; 2 Cor 1:20; 2 The 1:11-12), including healing the sick and announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat 8:16-17, 10:7-8; Luk 9:2, 10:9; Act 8:6-7, 10:38; 1 Cor 2:4-5; 1 The 1:5; Jam 5:14-16). The healing of the sick is also given as a sign which is to follow all believers (Joh 14:12-14; Mar 16:17-18).

All believers are commanded to love the Lord God with all their heart, mind, and soul, to love others as they love themselves (Deu 6:5; Mat 22:37; Mar 12:30-31; Luk 10:27; 2 Cor 5:14-15), and to proclaim the good news that God is freely reconciling the world to Himself through Christ (Joh 3:16-17; 2 Cor 5:18-21). All believers are ministers of reconciliation for God, called as both priests and kings through Christ (2 Cor 5:18-21; 1 Pet 2:5, 2:9; Rev 1:6, 5:10). Five-fold ministers have a special mandate from God to raise up and equip all believers to do the work of the ministry for themselves (Eph 4:11-16).

Marriage, Family, & Human Life

Marriage is a sacred institution of God (Heb 13:4), created by God for His glory, and therefore, He alone defines it. God created marriage as a covenant and union between a man and a woman (Gen 2:18-25; Mat 19:4-6; Mar 10:6-9), for companionship, for spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy (1 Cor 7:3-5, 36; Heb 13:4), for procreation and to raise godly children (Gen 1:28; Pro 22:6; Eph 6:4), as a gift to be enjoyed and celebrated (Deu 24:5; Pro 18:22; Song of Solomon), for mutual love, honor, and respect (Eph 5), and as a permanent foundation of the family, society, and the Church (Psa 103:17-18; Mat 19:6). The Church is God’s family (1 Tim 3:15; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 6:10; Eph 2:19), and marriage is a prophetic declaration of the mystery of Christ and the Church, including mankind’s covenant, relationship, and union with God (Eph 5:22-33).

Human life is especially sacred to God above all other life since God created mankind in his own image, for his pleasure, and for His glory (Gen 1:26, 9:3-6; Psa 127:3; Mat 22:37-39). Since all human life originated with God (Gen 1:27; Deu 32:39) and is continued by God through the union of a man and a woman (Gen 4:1; Job 34:14-15; Isa 42:5), He alone defines when life begins as well. The Scriptures clearly reveal that human life begins at conception, in the womb (Psa 139:13, 16; Job 31:15; Isa 49:1; Jer 1:5; Luk 1:39-44; Gal 1:15).

Original Sin

Sin did not originate with God. Sin, by definition is conflict with God and opposition with His very nature. God cannot be in conflict with Himself and did not create man with the intended result of sin, the determination to cause sin, or with temptation to sin. To do so would have been sinful in itself (Mat 15:18; Mar 9:42; Jam 1:13). The creation of mankind came through the expression of God’s pure and holy desire at the command of His Word. Mankind was originally created in the image of God, without sin, knowing and enjoying Him without hindrance (Gen 2-3; He 10:19-22). But by willfully positioning themselves in conflict with God, mankind gave and continues to give Satan their God-given authority over creation, relinquishing the ability, power, and authority to accomplish the commandment of God. Death came as a result of this disobedience, corrupting all of Creation, and is automatically transferred into all mankind at birth. Mankind, without freely receiving salvation through Christ, is therefore justly condemned by the righteous Creator (Gen 1:26-30, 3; Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:22) and due to receive the penalty of eternal judgment for that inherent sinful nature—judgment which increases for knowingly disobeying God by free choice (Joh 3:18-21; Rom 1:18-2:12).

Salvation

Salvation is wholly of God (Psa 37:39; Jon 2:9). It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance and draws mankind to Himself (Joh 6:44, 16:8-11; Rom 2:4). Yet, the only way anyone has ever been or ever can be saved is by God’s grace, accessed through a definite and humble act of faith (Rom 3:26, 12:3; Eph 2:8-9; Jam 4:6). Nothing mankind does or says can please God or even be accepted by God, other than faith in Him (Rom 14:23). Through faith, anyone can be restored to a life-giving relationship with God with immediate and unhindered access to His presence. That faith is expressed by repenting of our sins, knowing that Jesus received the penalty for us which we deserve, and confessing that Jesus is our living Savior and Lord.

We must repent by turning from sin and changing our direction in life to follow the example of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:21, 3:19; 1 John 1:9). We surrender our lives to the death as Jesus did, being buried in baptism as a pubic declaration of our identification with Christ into death, and then we are raised to new life in the spirit with Christ by the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead (Rom 8:11). God makes us into a new creation that lives in, through, and for Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:4-5; Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Joh 4:9). This salvation through Christ brings freedom from all the power and effects of sin and death, and restores our authority and power over creation and over all the power of the enemy (Isa 53:4-5; Mat 8:17; Mar 16:17-20; Luk 10:19-21; Rom 8:1-11; Gal 5:1; Col 2:13-15; 1 Pet 2:24). Through salvation, Christ reconciles us to God and provides for wholeness in every area of our lives, including spiritually (Joh 3:3-11; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Rom 10:9-10; Eph 1:3), mentally and emotionally (2 Tim 1:7, 2:11; Phi 4:7-8; Rom 12:2; Isa 26:3), physically (Isa 53:4-5; Mat 8:17; 1 Pet 2:24), and financially (Jos 1:8; Psa 34:10, 84:11; Mat 6:25-34; Luk 6:38; 2 Cor 9:6-10; Phi 4:19; 2 Pet 1:3).

Sanctification & Holiness

While, through salvation, we are set apart for God’s glory in a moment, sanctification is experienced as we cooperate with God over our lifetime. In every way, we are in a process of growing into all that is ours through Christ (1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 1:3-10, 3:18). God gives us the right or power to become sons—becoming is a process (1 The 4:3, 5:23; 2 Cor 3:18, 6:14-18; Rom 8:29, 12:1-2; Heb 2:11). God chose that we would rely on Him for grace as we mature in holiness. Like Christ, we also grow in grace and favor with God (1 Sam 2:26; Luk 2:40, 52; 2 Pet 3:18). So, God is okay with the process, but He does require progression. Therefore, being a disciple of Christ is a life of ongoing surrender under the cover of grace. True holiness requires the presence of the Holy One just as true godliness requires God. Holiness is impossible to achieve without the faith that steps through the torn veil that was between us and God; to lay hold of that which was laid hold of for us: the nearness of God.

Sovereignty & Responsibility

God is sovereign and His will is ultimately enforced. Yet in His sovereignty He purposes not to meticulously determine everything that happens every minute. Rather, He is the perfect creator, having set rules and laws into motion which continue and progress naturally according to His design—unless unlawfully altered. He delegated mankind to act in His sovereign authority when He created and commissioned mankind as His agents to enforce His rule and reign throughout all of His Creation (Gen 1:28). When He formed Adam in His likeness (Gen 1:26) as the only living creature in the god-like class (Joh 10:32-38), He granted mankind certain god-like attributes such as free will (Jos 24:15; Joh 7:17) and natural faith (Rom 12:3). The fact that God, although sovereign, allows mankind the ability to violate His will is first evident at the fall, when Adam and Eve, still in their perfect created state, made decisions that were against God’s own desires (Gen 3). Inevitably, this means that mankind has a responsibility to pursue God’s will and enforce it through love, in the authority and power that God has granted (Gen 1:28; Mat 28:19; Mar 16:15-18).

Foundational Principles

The six foundational principles of Christ in Hebrews 6:1-3 are basic, scriptural principles. These foundational principles are: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead, and everlasting judgment. All of these principles are mentioned elsewhere in this statement of beliefs, except for the doctrine of laying on of hands. Laying on of hands is for the purpose of transferring anything, including: transferring authority, power, or responsibility (Num. 27:18-23, Lev 16:21), commissioning or committing people to ministry (Num. 8:10, Act. 6:6), releasing spiritual gifts and callings (1 Tim. 4:14, 2 Tim. 1:6), for public confirmation of what was already received by God (Act. 13:2-4), for releasing blessing (Gen. 48:14, Mar. 10:16), for healing and miracles (Mar. 16:17-18, Luk. 13:13, Act. 9:17, 19:11), for performing signs and wonders (Act. 5:12, 14:3), and for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Act. 8:18, 19:6).

Two Sacraments

There are two sacraments given by Christ to the Church: water baptism and communion. These are two ordinances that the Church should continue to observe; not as a means of salvation or attainment of any kind, but as a public declaration and act of faith and in obedience to Christ. Water baptism, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, is a baptism of repentance, the public declaration of a changed life, a prophetic act which identifies us with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, representing the refreshing and regeneration of God received through our surrender by faith (Mat 28:19; Mar 16:16; Act 2:38, 8:12, 10:47-48). Communion is the observance of passover with an understanding of Christ as the perfect lamb sacrificed on our behalf, atoning for and freeing us from all bondage: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (Joh 3:3-11; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Rom 10:9-10; 2 Tim 1:7, 2:11; Phi 4:7-8; Rom 12:2; Isa 26:3, 53:4-5; Mat 8:17; 1 Pet 2:24; Jos 1:8; Mal 3:10-11; Luk 6:38; 2 Cor 9:6-10; Deu 28:1-14; Psa 34:10, 84:11; Phi 4:19; 3 Joh 1:2). It reminds us of God’s guidance and providence in our lives and declares that Jesus will come again (Exo 12; Mat 26:26-29; 1 Cor 10:16, 11:23-25).

The Second Coming of Christ

Jesus Christ will literally and visibly return to the earth in the same way in which He left to personally and zealously take His full rightful authority over all His creation (Mat 24:30, 26:63-64; Acts 1:9-11; 1 The 4:15-17; 2 The 1:7-8; Rev 1:7). He will govern it with righteousness and justice, and the Church will continue to rule and reign with Him (2 Tim 2:12). There will be a literal resurrection and judging of every person living and dead (Mat 22:31; Luk 20:35; Joh 11:25; Act 10:42, 17:31;Rom 6:5, 14:10-12; 1 Cor 15; Phi 3:10-11). Those who have believed in Him by faith will receive the full inheritance of the everlasting life of Christ Himself, ruling and reigning with Him; all others will receive an everlasting judgment of death and separation from God (Dan 12:2; Mat 7:22-23; Joh 5:29, 12:48; Heb 6:2;Rev 20:5-6).

 

Last revised on June 20, 2015