What do we believe?
We believe in God. Not just any god, but THE God of the universe. The same God that created this earth. The same God that spoke light into existence. The same God that created each and every star, and hung them in place. The same God that loved us so much that He eternally defeated death and gave us hope through Jesus Christ. The same God that not only ransomed us from our sins, but also gives us a “better life than we ever dreamed” (John 10:10).
In more detail, here’s what we believe…
WE BELIEVE that God is the Eternal King. He is an infinite, unchangeable Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, goodness, justice, power, and love. From all eternity He exists as the One Living and True God in three persons of one substance, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory.
WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom is everlasting. From His throne, through His Son, His eternal Word, God created, upholds and governs all that exists: the heavenly places, the angelic hosts, the universe, the earth, every living thing and mankind. God created all things very good.
WE BELIEVE that Satan, originally a great, good angel, rebelled against God, taking a host of angels with him. He was cast out of God’s presence and, as a usurper of God’s rule established a counter kingdom of darkness and evil on earth.
WE BELIEVE that God created mankind in His image, male and female, for relationship with Himself and to govern the earth. Under the temptation of Satan, our original parents fell from grace, bringing sin, sickness, and God’s judgment of death to the earth. Through the fall, Satan and his demonic hosts gained access to God’s good creation. Creation now experiences the consequences and effects of Adam’s original sin. Human beings are born in sin, subject to God’s judgment of death, and captive to Satan’s kingdom of darkness.
WE BELIEVE that God did not abandon His rule over the earth which He continues to uphold by His providence. In order to bring redemption, God established covenants which revealed His grace to sinful people. In the covenant with Abraham, God bound himself to His people Israel, promising to deliver them from bondage to sin and Satan and to bless all the nations through them.
WE BELIEVE that as King, God later redeemed His people by His mighty acts from bondage in Egypt and established His covenant through Moses, revealing His perfect will and our obligation to fulfill it. The law’s purpose is to order our fallen race and to make us conscious of our moral responsibility. By the work of God’s Spirit, it convicts us of our sin and God’s righteous judgment against us and brings us to Christ alone for salvation.
WE BELIEVE that when Israel rejected God’s rule over her as King, God established the monarchy in Israel and made an unconditional covenant with David, promising that his heir would restore God’s kingdom reign over His people as Messiah forever.
WE BELIEVE that in the fullness of time, God honored His covenants with Israel and His prophetic promises of salvation by sending His only Son, Jesus, into the world. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, as fully God and fully man in one person, He is humanity as God intended us to be. Jesus was anointed as God’s Messiah and empowered by the Holy Spirit, inaugurating God’s Kingdom reign on earth, overpowering the reign of Satan by resisting temptation, preaching the good news of salvation, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Gathering His disciples, He reconstituted God’s people as His dying for the sins of the world; Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, fulfilling the covenant of blessing given to Abraham.
In His sinless, perfect life, Jesus met the demands of the law and in His atoning death on the cross He took God’s judgment for sin which we deserve as lawbreakers. By His death on the cross, He also disarmed the demonic powers. His death on the cross also opened up healing as part of the gospel to be preached.
The covenant with David was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth from David’s house, His Messianic ministry, His glorious resurrection from the dead, His ascent into heaven, and His present rule at the right hand of the Father. As God’s Son and David’s heir, He is the eternal Messiah King, advancing God’s reign throughout every generation and throughout the whole earth today.
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church on the evening of the resurrection, when Jesus breathed upon his disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. This was the experience of receiving the indwelling Spirit bringing “zoe,” life to them. The baptism of repentance is when this is continued in the history of the Church. This is the one baptism referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:13, baptizing believers into the body of Christ. These disciples and others would later receive the “Promise of the Father”: the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit when He would come upon (“epi”) them. This was the experience of the disciples (who had earlier received the Spirit when Jesus breathed upon them and said, “Receive the Spirit“) on the Day of Pentecost. Whereas the receiving of the Spirit on the evening of the resurrection was for life, at Pentecost the Spirit came upon them in power and released the gifts of the Spirit to them. The Holy Spirit brings the permanent indwelling presence of God to us for spiritual worship, personal sanctification, building up the Church, gifting us for ministry, and driving back the kingdom of Satan by the evangelization of the world through proclaiming the word of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus.
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe Jesus is the one who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit, as a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe that this baptism in the Spirit is almost always subsequent to conversion, that on very rare occasions it comes at the time of conversion. Even with this observation it is difficult to know if it was truly simultaneous or occurred a few seconds after conversion. We believe the biblical pattern is for this experience to be subsequent, though there is even in the Bible an instance when it wasn’t (the experience of Cornelius in Acts 10, in light of Acts 11:14, “He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved”).
WE BELIEVE in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, for impartations of gifts of the Holy Spirit and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the church. We also recognize that another of the two ways recorded in the Bible that God empowers people is through individual or corporate prayer and waiting upon God, and in this latter scenario there is no laying on of hands. We value both of these ways of receiving impartations and empowering experiences from God.
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of the Holy Scripture so that the Bible is “God-breathed.” We receive the sixty six books of the Old and New Testaments as our final, absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
WE BELIEVE that the whole world is under the domination of Satan and that all people are sinners by nature and choice. All people therefore are under God’s just judgment. Through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God regenerates, justifies, adopts and sanctifies through Jesus by the Spirit all who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. By this they are released from Satan’s domain and enter into God’s kingdom reign.
WE BELIEVE in the one, holy, universal Church. All who repent of their sins and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and form the living Body of Christ, of which He is the head and all are members. The Church was established during the ministry of our Lord, received the Spirit, with its regenerating life, on the night of the Resurrection, and received the “Promise of the Father” the Baptism or Filling with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the Church: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both are available to all believers. We recognize that grace is also conveyed through the preaching and study of the Word of God, the Bible. We concur that the two ordinances are like the gospel on television (visual) while preaching is like the gospel on radio (auditory). In this sense, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper can be conveyors of God’s grace and have a sacramental nature when appropriated by the person receiving them in faith. We use ”sacramental“ in the sense of a means of transferring or imparting grace to the one who receives in or with faith. This language is an attempt to build a bridge, not a wall, between the historic denominations which use the language of sacraments and the Baptists, Pentecostals, and many Charismatics who instead use the language of ordinances to refer to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (the latter also referred to as Communion or the Eucharist by certain denominations or networks). We believe that the preached/taught or read Word of God, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper can all be means by which we experience the Triune God. Although we have not listed preaching/teaching of the word of God as an ordinance, we are clearly commanded to preach/teach, and as we obey, something of a sacramental nature is conveyed through the spoken word of God.
WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom has come in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible, and triumphant appearing of Christ: His return to the earth as King. After Christ returns to reign, He will bring about the final defeat of Satan and all of his minions and works, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment and eternal conscious punishment of the wicked, and the eternal blessing of the righteous. Finally, God will be all in all in His new heavens and new earth, recreated by His mighty power, in which righteousness dwells and in which He will forever be worshiped.