What We Believe
The Inspiration of the Scriptures
We believe and teach the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. That is, it is our conviction that the entire Bible is God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and that the very words recorded are exactly what God wanted expressed (1 Cor. 2:13; Eph. 3:3-4; 1 Cor. 14:37). We believe the Bible is the complete revelation from God to man, and only in the Bible do we have everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3; Gal. 1:8,9; Rev. 22:18,19).
The Distinctive Nature of the Church
We believe that the church was built by Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:16-18), that the church was purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28), and that the church consists of those He will save (Eph. 5:23-25). The New Testament teaches that the church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:18), and that Christ is the head of that body (Eph 1:22). All authority belongs to Christ (Mat 28:18). It is the church’s responsibility to obey the commands of Christ because we will be judged by His words (John 12:48). The New Testament teaches that there is only one body, and that one body is the church (Eph 4:4). The church today is comprised of those congregations who pattern themselves after the church built by Jesus Christ and established by the apostles in the New Testament.
The Worship of the Church
Jesus said that we are to worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). He defines the term “truth” for us (John 17:17) when He says that God’s word is truth. Therefore, our worship must be according to the word of God, and we must have authority for everything that we do in worship (Col. 3:16-17). We believe that the worship of the church is solely determined by God’s word, not something that is based upon our likes or dislikes.
We believe the church is only authorized to use congregational singing, which is described in the New Testament as singing with the instrument of the heart, without the use of mechanical instruments (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). Therefore, only a cappella singing is used, and the entire congregation participates in the singing. In addition, the New Testament teaches that men are to assume the leadership roles in the assembly (1 Tim. 2:8-15; I Cor. 14:34-35).
We believe that we are to partake of the Lord’s supper every Sunday (Matt. 26:26-29; Acts 20:7), in the same manner as Jesus did, which was instituted during the Passover (Matt. 26:17-18). Jesus would have used unfermented fruit of the vine and unleavened bread in accordance with the Passover laws found in Exodus 12 and 13.
We are commanded to have prayers offered by faithful men during our worship to God (1 Tim. 2:8). We are commanded to give of our means every Sunday (1 Cor. 16:1-2) as a free will offering. We also have gospel preaching every Sunday during our worship (Acts 20:7, 2 Tim. 4:2) as commanded in New Testament. We believe that all aspects of our worship are to be conducted in a decent and orderly manner (1 Cor 14:33).
The Fellowship of the Church
John instructed (1 John 1:3-7) that we have fellowship with those who have fellowship with God. He describes those who have fellowship with God as those who are “walking in the light” (1 John 1:7). Thus, we can only have unity and fellowship with those who “obey His commandments” (1 Jn. 2:4). We believe the New Testament teachings are clear enough to distinguish those who are in the light from those who walk in darkness (Eph. 5:8-17). Our desire is to have fellowship with those who abide in all the teachings of Christ (2 John 9-11).
The Leadership of the Church
We believe the New Testament teaches that God’s plan is for men to assume leadership roles in the assemblies of His church, and that the leadership of the church exists to serve the spiritual needs of all the members (Matt 20:25-28). We believe the Bible teaches that both men and women have divinely specified roles in the church. Those roles include the men leading the worship (1 Tim. 2:8-15; I Cor. 14:34-35) and the women being in submission (1 Tim. 2:12). We believe these teachings do indicate an equality of status for both men and women, and that the church exists to exalt everyone according to the mercy of God (James 5:6, 1 Peter 5:5-7). Paul describes that the man has been designated by God as the head of the wife (Eph. 5:23), just as Christ is described as the head of the church, and that the men are to be the leaders of the church. The New Testament only recognizes men as elders, as taught in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, and the examples in the New Testament support this pattern.
Salvation, Grace, Works
The basis for our salvation is the blood of Christ, and God’s grace is manifested by what He did for our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore, it is God who determines to whom He extends His grace. He gives His gift of grace to those who obey His commands in the Gospel, not to those who continue in sin (Rom. 6:1-2). God gives man His grace when he comes to God through faith and obedience. Therefore, the acts of obedience we do to accept His grace are not done to merit or earn our salvation. They are simply the loving acts done by those who want to please God (John 14:15). Our works are done to demonstrate our faith (Jas. 2:14-26).
The Scriptures teach that one receives forgiveness of sins when one is baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16), and that it is only at our baptism where we receive forgiveness, and at no other point in our initial obedience to the Gospel. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we be baptized (immersed) to be saved, and otherwise, our sins have not been forgiven. The Bible teaches (Acts 8:12) that we must understand the authority (name) of Jesus and understand the essential nature of the church (the kingdom) prior to baptism. While there are other Biblical steps that are necessary to be saved (hear-Rom. 10:17; believe-Jn. 8:24; repent-Acts 2:38; confess-Rom. 10:9-10), it is when we emerge from the waters of baptism that we are united with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal 3:27), and added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47).
The Bible teaches that during the first century the Holy Spirit was visibly active in the lives of the apostles and early Christians. The miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit could be given to an individual by an apostle “laying hands” on them (Acts 8:18). Upon the death of the last of the apostles, this gift could no longer be given. The providential indwelling of the Holy Spirit is promised to every believer (Acts 2:38) and is received when one is baptized for the remission of sins. The main purpose for the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible was to reveal and confirm God’s truth (Mk 16:20). Upon completion of God's revealed word to mankind, man no longer has need of the miraculous gifts poured out upon mankind by the Holy Spirit during the first century (1 Cor. 13:10; Eph. 4:13). The providential indwelling of the Holy Spirit continues to bring comfort (John 14:16) and to help guide is into the truth that has been revealed (John 16:13) as part of the promise of the divine presence of God in the life of every believer (John 14:15-18).