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Knowing What You Believe Matters

The following statement covers our churches' positions on what we esteem as the top faith topics. The topics are The Bible, God, Humanity, Salvation, The Church, Baptism and Lord's Supper, Eternal Security, and Spiritual Gifts. For covenanting purposes, we require affirmations of the these core beliefs, however covenanters do not need to necessarily affirm the sections on Eternal Security and Spiritual Gifts, but they cannot actively teach against them.

Celebration! Church Faith Statement

Revised 02.21.2007

The Bible

We believe that The Holy Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God's revelation of Himself to man. 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. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is and will remain to the end of the world the true centre of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct creeds and religious opinions should be tried—the final authority for faith.  All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. 

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10;119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18;22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

God

We believe that there is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all-powerful and all-knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His 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. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10;17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6;Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

B. God 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 mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men 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 man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. 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.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29;11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70;24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5,21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21;8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God 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 men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the 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, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19;11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31;5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27;1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18;1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

Humanity

We believe that Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. God created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin, but through the temptation of Satan, Adam and Eve sinned against God and brought sin into the human race.  By this sin all humanity inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, therefore breaking the fellowship with God for which all mankind is created.  Each person, in and of himself or herself, is utterly unable to remedy this sinful, broken condition.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19;6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22;Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

Salvation

We believe that Salvation is the gift of God, given to humanity by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf.  It is not obtained by any works, or any effort on the part of the sinner, but by the sovereign workings of God’s grace.

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, 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, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. 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 the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in 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 him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

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

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.;5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20;15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

The Church

We believe that the Church, in its broadest sense, is the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.  This universal Church, in fulfilling the commands of Jesus Christ, finds expression through the local church.  We believe this church to be instituted by Christ with its birth in the New Testament.

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two primary ordinances of Christ (believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper), committed to His teachings, exercising the gifts rights and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the Earth. This church is an autonomous body operating through democratic processes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible. Its Scriptural officers are pastors and deacons.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12;Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

Baptism & The Lord's Supper (Communion)

We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, upon their profession of faith in Christ, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing both the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and 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 also a testimony to the believer’s faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being commanded and exemplified by Christ, baptism is prerequisite, in so much as it is possible, to the privileges of joining the church.

The Lord's Supper is an important, symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the Church remember and memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.  This is done through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine as representative of Christ’s body, broken for us, and His blood, shed for us.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

Eternal Security

We believe the eternal security of the Christian to be a biblically defined reality, central to the faith of the redeemed.  Upon the confessional reception of Christ by grace through faith, which is Salvation, God promises to count our faith as righteousness, imputing to us the righteousness of Christ, forgiving and covering our sin, committing to never count our sins against us.  The power in this salvation is not left to us, but is kept in the power of Christ unto the last day. 

We believe that this security is by no means an opportunity to sin without consequence.  When we have been found to be in Christ, we are a new creation complete with new desires. Because we are still in the process of sanctification (as defined above), we will sin, but this sin will not characterize our life or result from a desire to sin in order that grace may abound.

John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 4:5-8, 6:1-7, 15-18, 8:1-2, 29-30, 38-39; Eph. 1:13; Phil. 1:6; 1Cor. 1:4-8; 2Cor. 5:17; Heb. 7:25, 10:14; 1Peter 1:3-5; 1John 2:19, 5:13

Spiritual Gifts

We believe that God is faithful and sovereign in bestowing spiritual gifts on His children upon becoming a follower of Christ.  Spiritual gifts are given through the Holy Spirit and are not earned or achieved.  Particular gifts are not essential in proving the presence of the Holy Spirit, neither are they a measurement to one’s level of closeness to God.  By God’s good pleasure He gives spiritual gifts in order to equip the church for her work here on earth and to lead her into the holiness and blameless perfection to which she is called as the Bride of Christ.  We believe spiritual gifts are to be used only according to scripture with the purpose of edifying the Lord’s Church.

Romans 12:1-8; 1Cor. 1:5-9, 10:31, 12:1-13:13, 14:26-40; Eph. 4:11-13; 1Peter 4:10-11