Identity and Beliefs

Identity, Statement of Faith, and Church Covenant

Identity

We are Gospel-driven. Although we were once dead in our trespasses and sin, in his grace, God the Father sent God the Son to live and die as a substitute for our sin. Rising again, Jesus proves he has achieved our salvation and conquered sin and death. We strive to continue to root ourselves in the gospel of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone by grace alone to the glory of God alone. Our aim is to take part in making this gospel known in our community and throughout the world. 

"...Repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:16). 


We are Word-Centered. God gives life through his Word. We gather every week to pray according to the Word, sing the Word, see the Word in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and proclaim the Word through expositional preaching. 

"...Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20).


We are God-glorifying.  " So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). 


We are Christ-exalting. Christ is the Telos or purpose of all creation. We strive to glorify him in everything we do. 

"...That in all things Christ might be preeminent" (Colossians 1:18). 


We are Spirit-empowered. The only way we continue following Christ, growing in him, and avoiding sin is not by leaning on our strength, but on the Holy Spirit. 

"...That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being (Ephesians 3:16).


We are a Community. We love because God first loved us. We strive for deep relationships that aim to fulfill the "one anothers" of the New Testament church. 

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"

(John 13:35).


Statement of Faith

A statement of faith is a summary of the Bible's most important teachings. We desire to include items that are essential to the message of the gospel and matters that are necessary for us to be a church together.

  

I. The Scriptures

We believe that the Bible, specifically the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, is the written Word of God. It was written by men divinely inspired and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its purpose, and truth without any mixture of error for its content. It reveals the principles by which God will judge us. Therefore it is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the only sufficient, certain, and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. 


II. The True God

We believe there is one and only one living and true God—an infinite, personal, intelligent Spirit. His name is Yahweh, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and is worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each is fully God and equally possesses the perfections of deity while carrying out distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.


God the Father: We believe that God the Father is fully divine and sovereignly reigns over creation. He is the source of all life and the one to whom the eternal kingdom belongs. He is the author of every event that occurs in both time and eternity. He foreknows, chooses, and predestines people according to His glorious plan of redemption. The Father draws sinners to believe in His Son through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Father forgives their sin and adopts them as His children, thus giving them peace with Him.


God the Son: We believe that God the Son is fully divine and has eternally existed with the same glory as the Father. In His incarnation, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and was called Jesus. He took upon Himself human nature, becoming fully man while remaining fully God. He lived a sinless life, died as a substitute for sinners, and rose from the dead as the Lord and Savior of all those who believe. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God the Father and serves as the mediator between God and those who believe. He will soon return to judge sinners and to receive all those who have trusted in Him.


God the Holy Spirit: We believe that God the Holy Spirit is the eternal Spirit who shares in the fullness of deity along with the Father and the Son. He is the Spirit of truth sent by God the Father and Jesus Christ to carry out the eternal plan of redemption among God’s people. His primary ministry is to exalt and glorify Jesus by applying the Gospel to sinners’ hearts, to convict them of their sin, to give them new life in Christ, and to seal them until the day of redemption.


III. Humanity and the Fall

We believe humanity 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. The gift of marriage consists of the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime, and this gift models the way God relates to His people. 


God created the human race in holiness under his law. By voluntary transgression, however, humanity fell from that holy and happy state. As a result, all people are now sinners, not by external compulsion but by choice, having inherited a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and his law. We believe that while all people retain the image of God, possess a conscience, and are capable of doing relative moral good, which is non-meritorious for salvation, they by nature entirely lack the holiness that is required by the law of God and are actively inclined to evil. Therefore, they are under just condemnation to a sentence of eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.


IV. God’s Purpose of Grace

We believe election is the eternal purpose of God according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners. It is not because of foreseen merit in people, but because of his mere mercy in Christ. Election is perfectly consistent with human free agency and includes all the means necessary to achieve God’s purpose. It is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, which is infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable. Election completely rules out boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and the active imitation of his free mercy. It encourages the greatest possible exercise of human responsibility. The election of individuals to life may be confirmed by its effects in everyone who truly believes the gospel. Election is the foundation of Christian assurance, and confirming our election deserves our greatest diligence.


V. The Way of Salvation

We believe the salvation of sinners is completely by grace, and is accomplished through Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God and the one Mediator between God and man. By the appointment of the Father, He freely took to himself our nature but without sin. He honored the divine law by his personal obedience and made a full atonement for our sins by his substitutionary death, satisfying God’s wrath. He rose from the dead and is now enthroned in heaven. Jesus, the Son, unites in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections and, as such, is qualified in every way to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior.


VI. The Freeness of Salvation

We believe the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a heartfelt, penitent, and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his/her own inherent depravity and rejection of the gospel, a rejection that aggravates a sinner’s condemnation.


VII. Regeneration

We believe that in order to be saved sinners must be regenerated, or born again. It is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickens the dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually and savingly enlightening their minds to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature so that they voluntarily love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone. It is carried out by the power of the Holy Spirit using divine truth to obtain our voluntary obedience to the gospel. The proper evidence of regeneration appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life. 


VIII. Repentance and Faith

We believe repentance and faith are sacred duties as well as inseparable graces. They are produced in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God, who convinces us of our guilt, danger, helplessness, and the way of salvation by Christ. They consist of turning to God with genuine sorrow, confession, and a petition for mercy; receiving heartily the Lord Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King; and relying on him alone for justification and eternal life.


IX. Justification

We believe the great gospel blessing that Christ secures to those who believe in him is justification. Justification includes the pardon of sin, righteous standing before God and his people, and the promise of eternal life founded on principles of righteousness. It is not given because of any works of righteousness we have done but only through faith in Christ and His finished work. By virtue of this faith God freely imputes Christ’s perfect righteousness to us. Justification immediately brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God and secures every other blessing we need for time and eternity.


X. Sanctification

We believe sanctification is the process by which we are made partakers of God’s holiness, according to his purpose. Sanctification is a progressive work. It begins in regeneration and continues in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and by God’s appointed means. These means include the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, prayer, and the oversight and fellowship of the visible church.


XI. Perseverance of the Saints

We believe all genuine believers – those whom God has accepted in Christ and sanctified by his Holy Spirit - endure to the end. Their persevering obedience to Christ and attachment to his people are the primary mark distinguishing them from superficial professors. A special providence watches over their welfare, and they are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation. Though they may fall through neglect and temptation into sin - whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the church and temporal judgments on themselves - yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. 


XII. The Church

We believe that Christians are to associate themselves into particular churches, according to Christ’s commandment. A visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, joined together by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. A visible church observes the ordinances of Christ, submits to his laws, and exercises the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his word. The only scriptural officers of the church are elders (also called overseers or pastors) and deacons, whose qualifications and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and to Titus.


XIII. Baptism

We believe that Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he or she is baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is to be done by immersion to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. Its only proper subjects are those who do actually profess repentance towards God, and faith in and obedience to the Lord Jesus. It is pre-requisite to the privileges of church membership, and to the Lord's Supper. 


XIV. The Lord’s Supper

We believe that the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be observed by his churches until the end of the world. It is to be observed by the eating of bread and the drinking of the cup. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge, and renewal of their communion with Him and of their church fellowship. We likewise believe that the Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby the members of the church, following earnest self-examination, use bread and the cup in a sacred manner to commemorate together the dying love of Christ. The ordinances belong to the gathered church, marking off believers from unbelievers and making the church visible on earth.


XV. The Lord’s Day

We believe the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and points to the rest that awaits the people of God.  It should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the lordship of Jesus Christ.


XVI. Civil Government

We believe that civil government exists by divine appointment for the benefit and good order of human society. Government officials are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed. The principle exception is for matters contrary to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. 


XVII. The Righteous and the Wicked

We believe there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked. Only those who are justified by faith in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in his judgment. In contrast, all those who continue in impenitence and unbelief are wicked in his sight and under the curse.  This distinction among people holds both at death and afterward.


XVIII. The Resurrection and the World to Come

We believe that death is not the end. Though the bodies of men after death return to dust, their spirits live on, the righteous departing immediately to be with the Lord, and the wicked to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. We believe that the end of the world is approaching, and that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution. A solemn and public separation will then take place that will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, the wicked will be justly assigned to everlasting conscious punishment, and the righteous to everlasting life and joy. 


Church Covenant

A church covenant is a summary of the commitments the Bible calls us to make to each other when we join a local church.


Preface: Having been brought by God’s grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. And having been baptized upon the profession of our faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now, in dependence upon His Spirit, solemnly and joyfully make this covenant with each other. 

By God’s grace:


1. We will submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final word on all matters of life and doctrine. (2 Tim. 3:14-17)


2. We will seek God’s help to enable us to resist sin and pursue holiness. (Rom. 6:1-14; 1 Thess. 4:1; Titus 2:12; 1 Pt. 1:14-16; 1 Jn. 2:15-17)


3. We will regularly assemble together to worship God and mutually build up each other in Christ. (Heb. 10:23-25)


4. We will commit to the great duty of prayer both for ourselves and for others. (James 5:16)


5. We will work and pray for the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace with one another. (Eph. 4:1-3)


6. We will use our words to build up one another and glorify God, rather than speaking lies, deceit, slander, or gossip. (Eph. 4:29-31)


7. We will show Christian love, affectionate care, and genuine forgiveness toward each other. (Jn. 13:34-35; Eph. 4:32; 1 Pt. 1:22)


8. We will encourage, admonish, and exhibit watchfulness over one another with wisdom and humility in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 7:1-5; Col. 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:11)


9. We will raise our children and youth in the training and instruction of the Lord. By a pure and loving example, we will seek the salvation of our family and friends. (Eph 6:4; 1 Pt. 3:1)


10. We will rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, helping to carry each other’s burdens. (Rom. 12:15)


11. We will defend and maintain a Christ-exalting ministry in this church by supporting and upholding the preaching of the Bible, the right administration of believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and when necessary, the exercise of church discipline. (Mt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 5:9-13, 11:26; 2 Tim. 4:2)


12. We will cheerfully and regularly contribute to the support of the ministry, the needs of the church, and the relief of the poor. (2 Cor. 9:7; Gal. 6:10; James 1:27; 1 Jn. 3:17-18)


13. We will proclaim the gospel in our homes, neighborhoods, and to the ends of the earth in whatever way the Lord enables us. (Mt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 5:16-21)


14. We will, when moving from this place, unite with another church where we will carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.  Amen. (2 Cor. 13:14)

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