We teach and hold to those doctrines which have their basis in the Scriptures, are in keeping with the creeds of the early church councils, and have been held in common by all communions of orthodox believers. We desire to be in the “mainstream” of what the church has always taught, both in doctrine and in practice. We are not interested in new or novel doctrines. Therefore, as concise statements of our belief, we have chosen three creeds which are universally accepted by all orthodox churches:
In addition to these creeds, we believe the following about these central Christian doctrines:
We believe the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired Word. It is without error in all its teaching, including creation, history, its own origins, and salvation. Christians are to submit to its divine authority, both individually and corporately, in all matters of belief and conduct (John 5:39, II Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 1:23-25; II Peter 1:20-21).
We believe in the Trinity: that God is three Divine persons in One Nature, co-equal and co-existent. The Trinity is the basis of all reality and exists as infinite and personal. Because He is infinite, God is limitless in power, in presence, and in knowledge. He exists above and apart from all that He created. Because He is personal, He may be known by man (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19-20; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:18, 14:8-20; II Corinthians 13:14; I Peter1:1-2; Jude 21).
In lieu of the misunderstandings about the person of Jesus Christ, we would like to state clearly what we do believe regarding Him. To that end, we believe the following doctrines, which have their basis in the Bible, are essential:
- That Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity; therefore, He has always been God.
- That He became a man through the virgin birth and yet did not cease to be fully God.
- That He led a perfectly sinless life, even while He was tempted in all respects like we are.
- That He performed supernatural miracles as acts of compassion and proofs of His deity.
- That He gave up His life as a sacrifice to God the Father in order to redeem man from sin and its consequences.
- That He rose again from the dead in order to show His victory over death.
- That He ascended into Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.
- That He will come again at the end of the age to judge all mankind; to the righteous He will give eternal life with Him; to those who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be eternal separation from Him.
We believe that the salvation of an individual is a free gift of God received through repentance from sin and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This salvation is expressed in a public confession through baptism and participation in the church, the Body of Christ (John 1:12, 3:16-18, 10:28; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:41; Ephesians 1:13-14; I Peter 1:3-5).
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe baptism and the Lord’s Supper were initiated by Christ and are intended for our participation in this age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation. We encourage all members to participate regularly at the Lord’s Table (Matthew 1:16-17, 26:26-30, 28:19-20; Acts 2:37-41; I Corinthians 11:23-34).
We believe the government of the local church is carried out by a plural eldership which is committed to serving the congregation. These elders have authority under God; the people are devoted to their serving leadership. The elders meet regularly to study, pray, and administer the Word of God. Their primary function is the ministry of the Word and prayer. The deacons have a spiritual ministry to physical needs. They oversee the building and its use and administer the church finances—including the care of the poor, missionary giving, and the general finances of the church (I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 6:1-7; I Peter 5:1-3).
We believe each member of the body of Christ has at least one spiritual gift. Not all members have the same gifts, or the same ministries, or the same effects; but these gifts are given for the common good of the body. All members and gifts should work together. Spiritual gifts should be used to serve others and glorify God (Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:1-11, 28-31; Ephesians 4:7-13; I Peter 4:10-11).
We believe in the hope that has always characterized the church of Jesus Christ. We look forward to the second coming of Christ in bodily form and our participation with Him in the Kingdom which He will fully establish (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15:51-58; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; I Peter 5:4).