Essential Beliefs

SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings, infallible in their instruction, eternal in duration; the final authority and the standard for faith and practice; and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life.

(Psalm 119:97-104, Proverbs 6:32, 1 Peter 1:23-25, 2 Timothy 3:16)

We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally should be preferred.


CREATION, EVOLUTION AND GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed.
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority. (Genesis 1)
We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures.
We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings. (Genesis 1:26-27).
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Colossians 1:16-17).

SALVATION AND SECURITY

It is God’s divine decision to save a person and it is God’s kindness, forbearance and patience that lead that person to repentance. The Bible also teaches that each person is responsible to embrace or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord and that God welcomes all who come to Him by faith apart from works. (Both of these two truths—God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s decision to embrace Christ—are taught in the Scriptures. Their co-existence is a mystery and is completely understood only in the mind of our omniscient God.) (John 6:37,44,65, Romans 10:9-18)
Those who are born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ persevere in the faith as God is faithful to His people, and empowers them to persevere in the faith. We believe that everyone who is born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ is assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God’s decisive and faithful grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith.
(John 15:4-8, 1 John 2:19-20, John 10:27-29)


PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION AND MATURITY

A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on a personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will eventually become complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

We are committed to multiplying the Godly characteristics of leaders’ lives into others. This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (2 Timothy 2:2, Ephesians 4:11-12).

WORSHIP

The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind and might. All believing men, women and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence. (Matthew 22:37)

Worship glorifies God through adoration, praise, prayer, thanksgiving and a complete yielding to Him. Worship declares His worth, pays Him homage and celebrates Him in a life of devotion. (Psalm 95:6, Romans 12:1)

Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:

lift high the name of Jesus Christ
lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyrics
prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture
emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith


CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AND COVENANT

Even a casual reading of Scripture reveals that the commitment of believers to one another is anything but casual. In both descriptive and prescriptive language, the Bible attests to the formal and profound relationship that exists among those who have been reconciled to God and each other. (1 Corinthians 12:14–20).

Membership recognizes and responds to the call of discipleship in the context of gospel-centered community. It is an affirmation and agreement to contribute to the good of the body rather than consume from it. It is a formalization of that which already implicitly exists. (Acts 2:41-47)

God calls His people into covenant, not only to Himself but also to each other. He calls us to a life of sacrifice, generosity, service and radical commitment to the good of the body. And this happy obligation is most readily pursued within the context of a particular body—a local church. (Gen. 6:18, 9;16, 15:18; Luke 22:20; Heb. 8:6-7).

BAPTISM AND COMMUNION

Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41).

Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ’s death and a reminder—through the bread and the juice—of the Savior’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:20-29).


CHURCH PLANTING PHILOSOPHY

The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment. The commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made and grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God has called us to plant His gospel as He builds His church. (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38)

Essential Beliefs

SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings, infallible in their instruction, eternal in duration; the final authority and the standard for faith and practice; and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life.

(Psalm 119:97-104, Proverbs 6:32, 1 Peter 1:23-25, 2 Timothy 3:16)

We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally should be preferred.


CREATION, EVOLUTION AND GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

We believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days and that, before He created the universe, nothing except God existed.
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom and supreme authority. (Genesis 1)
We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures.
We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings. (Genesis 1:26-27).
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Colossians 1:16-17).

SALVATION AND SECURITY

It is God’s divine decision to save a person and it is God’s kindness, forbearance and patience that lead that person to repentance. The Bible also teaches that each person is responsible to embrace or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord and that God welcomes all who come to Him by faith apart from works. (Both of these two truths—God’s sovereignty in salvation and man’s decision to embrace Christ—are taught in the Scriptures. Their co-existence is a mystery and is completely understood only in the mind of our omniscient God.) (John 6:37,44,65, Romans 10:9-18)
Those who are born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ persevere in the faith as God is faithful to His people, and empowers them to persevere in the faith. We believe that everyone who is born of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ is assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God’s decisive and faithful grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith.
(John 15:4-8, 1 John 2:19-20, John 10:27-29)


PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION AND MATURITY

A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on a personal walk with Him, worship of Him and work for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will eventually become complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

We are committed to multiplying the Godly characteristics of leaders’ lives into others. This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (2 Timothy 2:2, Ephesians 4:11-12).

WORSHIP

The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind and might. All believing men, women and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence. (Matthew 22:37)

Worship glorifies God through adoration, praise, prayer, thanksgiving and a complete yielding to Him. Worship declares His worth, pays Him homage and celebrates Him in a life of devotion. (Psalm 95:6, Romans 12:1)

Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:

lift high the name of Jesus Christ
lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyrics
prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture
emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith


CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AND COVENANT

Even a casual reading of Scripture reveals that the commitment of believers to one another is anything but casual. In both descriptive and prescriptive language, the Bible attests to the formal and profound relationship that exists among those who have been reconciled to God and each other. (1 Corinthians 12:14–20).

Membership recognizes and responds to the call of discipleship in the context of gospel-centered community. It is an affirmation and agreement to contribute to the good of the body rather than consume from it. It is a formalization of that which already implicitly exists. (Acts 2:41-47)

God calls His people into covenant, not only to Himself but also to each other. He calls us to a life of sacrifice, generosity, service and radical commitment to the good of the body. And this happy obligation is most readily pursued within the context of a particular body—a local church. (Gen. 6:18, 9;16, 15:18; Luke 22:20; Heb. 8:6-7).

BAPTISM AND COMMUNION

Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41).

Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ’s death and a reminder—through the bread and the juice—of the Savior’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:20-29).


CHURCH PLANTING PHILOSOPHY

The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment. The commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made and grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God has called us to plant His gospel as He builds His church. (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38)