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What We Believe

WHAT WE BELIEVE

About the Bible

About God

About the Father

About the Son

About the Holy Spirit

About Mankind

About the Church

About the Gospel

About the False Gospel

About the Gospel, Culture & Contextualization

About Basic Mission Policies

About the Great Commission

 

About the Bible

We confess that the Bible is the written and inspired Word of God, consisting in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, and that it is the only infallible rule for faith and life, revealing the righteousness of God for the salvation of all who believe. We confess that the truth of the Bible is both revealed and applied to the lives of God's elect by the power of His Holy Spirit.

 

About God

We confess that there is one God, the creator of all things visible and invisible, infinite in being, glory, blessedness and perfection; all sufficient, eternal, unchanging, everywhere present, almighty, all-knowing, perfect in holiness, justice, mercy, and truth; abounding in faithfulness, love, and jealousy for the honor of His own Name. We confess that this one God eternally exists in three Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 

About the Father

We confess that the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Almighty Creator of all things, and that from all of eternity He determined to glorify himself by choosing a people to belong to Him in the blessed communion of His dear Son, and that by His providential control over all things He fulfills this purpose to the praise of His glorious grace.

 

About the Son

We confess that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, sent from the Father to accomplish His purpose of grace and glory in the salvation of His elect people. We confess that while ever the eternal Son of God, he took a true human nature, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary, and in His true humanity fulfilled all the righteous requirements of God's law and justice in a life of suffering, trial, and unerring obedience to the will of the Father. We confess that having been confirmed in a perfect righteousness, He offered His life as a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of His people and thereby accomplished their salvation and reconciliation to God to the praise of His glorious grace. We confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, His sacrifice accepted by the Father, is raised from his suffering and death to eternal glory, and that He rules over all things for the sake of His Church, and continually applies the benefits He secured by His sacrificial death to His Church by the work of the Holy Spirit. We confess that He shall return, in power and glory, to judge the living and the dead and bring in everlasting righteousness.

 

About the Holy Spirit

We confess that the Holy Spirit is God, co-equal with the Father and the Son, and that He is sent from the Father and the Son to apply and fulfill the redemption accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of God's elect. We confess that in applying the work Jesus Christ accomplished, the Holy Spirit through the word of God convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment, directing and enabling the elect of God to true faith in Jesus Christ and living in them to complete the life of faith to the time of resurrection and eternal union with Christ. We confess that the Holy Spirit is He by whom all true Christians live, and that all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control is a fruit and testimony to His work by the power of the gospel, so that all praise and glory for the Christian life belongs to God alone.

 

About Mankind

We confess that with the exception of Jesus Christ, all human beings are subject to moral depravity and spiritual death because of the consequence of the sin of Adam, and are by nature objects of wrath and liable to eternal condemnation in the everlasting torments of Hell. Although mankind can attain to relative degrees of virtue and moral goodness, by comparison to the perfect standard of God's righteousness, the best works that man can do are unacceptable and corrupt. Moreover, no person, on account of the spiritual death and moral depravity to which all are subject, can come to God unless he is drawn and given life by the power of the Holy Spirit. We confess that from all the mass of humanity, God has chosen to save some and bring them to the estate of forgiveness and eternal life in Heaven, and that he has determined to consign others to eternal destruction, due to their sin and for the vindication of his own glory and power.

 

About the Church

We confess that there is one true, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic Church, consisting of all persons who are redeemed by Jesus Christ. We confess that this Church is visibly expressed in assemblies which are distinguished by the faithful proclamation of the gospel, the observance of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and a loving intolerance of sin in doctrine and life. These assemblies are overseen by elders who serve as under-shepherds of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the church belongs to God, we confess that it is the duty of such assemblies to seek to both recognize and maintain the true unity which exists among those who acknowledge the true Gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

About the Gospel

We find in Scripture that the Gospel is based upon God's creation of the world (in the space of six days) and all things in it for His purpose and His glory. In particular, man was created immediately by God as adult male and female to be His image bearer in true knowledge, holiness and righteousness. When God tested man's obedience, man fell and sinned and by this representative action so plunged the entirety of mankind into a state of sin. As a consequence, man spiritually died making way for later physical death. In this condition, all men born by natural process, are declared by God to be dead in trespasses and sin and totally without any spiritual life or true spiritual capabilities and fit only for glorifying God's wrath and justice forever.

Nevertheless, in His eternal purpose, God had already covenanted within Himself to eventually save out of this total group of the sinners that would arise by natural birth from Adam and Eve, a vast number from every nation and ethnic group of the earth. As part of this covenant, He determined to deliver them from their sin so they were able to stand righteously before Him in the salvation that He alone provided and yet still fulfill His promised justice of judgment for disobedience. He based the decision of who would be included in this vast number of people He would save solely on His own good pleasure and not in the slightest on the basis of anything good foreseen or done by those He would save. In this way the totality of their salvation from beginning to end would be based solely upon what God did and not on anything men were, said or did.

With that purpose in mind, God the Father (the first Person of the Godhead) in time sent His Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Godhead) to miraculously cause the virgin Mary to be with child. That child born of Mary was His only-begotten Son (the second Person of the Godhead) and was named Jesus. He was at the same time truly God and truly man. His birth took place within God's Old Testament Church, the nation of Israel in the line of King David. He lived a sinless life in absolute perfect obedience to God's law so that He could present Himself as a sacrifice specifically for His people. In the process, He revealed Himself to Israel to verify that He was their long promised Messiah (Christ) and King by means of signs, wonders, miracles and Scripture. Nevertheless, in coming first to His own (Israel), they did not receive Him. Instead, they delivered Him up to be crucified according to God's perfect plan.

He willingly suffered both in His life and death, and in death took the ultimate punishment for all of the sins of all of His people thereby satisfying God's justice against them. He also so united them with Him in His death and resurrection that His righteousness and life became theirs and brought them spiritually to heaven at His ascension so that they are now seated at the right hand of the Father. Over time, God the Holy Spirit has given spiritual life (new birth) to His people at a point in time of His sovereign choosing at or after their conception. Those who live to sufficient age will demonstrate that life through hearing and believing this Gospel. Their hearing and believing is solely a result of the life that they were given sovereignly by God and not as a result of anything else.

Included in this life given solely by God's grace, faith was also included—a faith by which they were justified (declared righteous) so that God is both Just and the Justifier of every one of His people. While such is all at the sovereign pleasure and effecting of God, yet it is done so that man willingly comes because of the new life He has received from God.

As part of this new life, Christ will so work within them as to give them a love for God's law, and though they will struggle against the remaining sin of the flesh and old nature, they will persevere in obedience purposely, though not perfectly. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ will complete in each of them, the perfect work He began so as to be the Author and Finisher of their faith as well as their salvation.

At the end of each believer's physical life, because of their union with Christ, they are spiritually and immediately in the presence of God having already spiritually ascended with their Savior at His ascension. Their bodies will remain on earth, no matter in what condition, and will be made new and reunited with their spirit at the time of their resurrection and so shall they live eternally in holiness and righteousness in the endless joy of ever-increasing discovery of the inexhaustible knowledge of God throughout eternity. And so, they will glorify God's grace and mercy forever.

Also, as part of this same Gospel, all mankind who remain in their sins shall, when they die, have their spirits immediately in the dred and torment of judgment until the time of the final judgment when they likewise will be reunited with their bodies and be cast, along with the devil and his angels, into the everlasting torment of hell wherein they will suffer God's wrath and justice forever without the slightest benefit of anything good from God.

Lastly, we see that all true believers in Jesus Christ along with their children are added to the visible church on earth, which is the Body of Christ, outside of which shall no person ordinarily be saved and thus will normally be baptized with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit as a sign thereof.

This is the Gospel which we preach and teach which is otherwise summed up variously in the Westminster Confessional Standards and the Three Forms of Unity.

 

About the False Gospel

In having stated above what the Gospel is, we also state here what the Gospel is not. There is a false gospel which never declares itself to be false, but always masquerades as truth and light. It comes in various forms and under various names, but common to them all is a plan of salvation that in some way or to some degree (however minor) is based on one or more of the following:


1) the minds and imaginations of men, and therefore not resting squarely and consistently upon Scripture;
2) the inherent innocence or goodness of man;
3) some actions or works from men of themselves which they believe God finds acceptable;
4) some kind of cooperation between man and God in their salvation.


Often part of this false gospel among “evangelicals” is the idea that Jesus Christ died with the intention of saving all mankind, though most will readily admit that not all men are saved. Therefore, Christ’s death made salvation only a possibility not a surety. In such case, the ultimate deciding factor determining which men are saved and which are not, rests with man. The language of faith is frequently used by this false gospel, but it is a faith that finds its source in man, rather than God; i.e., a faith from within man himself instead of from the new life that God has given. The false gospel will often speak of new birth as something acquired as a result of this faith from men, rather than faith being the result of new birth. In the final analysis, all concepts of salvation which in any way depend upon man’s initiative or cooperation with God are false gospels. They may be found in virtually any denomination under all of the most common names (Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Charismatic, Independent, Fundamentalist, Church of Christ, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, etc.).

 

About Confessions of Faith

The “What we believe about…” section above represents a brief statement of what we believe.  While this gives someone a good idea of the basics of our belief, we do not believe this to be sufficient.  Why?  It is not uncommon to hear groups say “we have no creed but Christ.” 

Every church in the world that claims the name Christian claims the name of Christ and also the Bible as their authority, and yet, it is all too clear that there is a great variation about what they believe about Jesus and about the Bible.  Some go so far as to proclaim a lie as the truth in keeping with 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 where Satan deceptively presents himself as an “angel of light”.  Therefore, we find ministers who follow Satan masquerading as ministers of righteousness, speaking a lie as though it was the truth.  We also know that Satan himself used the Bible in an attempt to persuade the Lord Jesus Christ to worship and follow him.  Consequently, it is extremely important that we set forth specifically what we believe about the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ and all of the major teachings from Scripture so as to distinguish what we teach from those who teach contrary to the Bible.  In this way, we know and others know what we confess and what it means. 

Therefore, we are not ashamed of stating quite clearly and thoroughly what we believe to be the faith delivered to mankind in the Bible by setting them forth in a “creed” or “confession”.   We make no apologies for this because we believe the truth is clear and is consistent with the teaching of the Scriptures which are not open to private interpretations and special understandings (1 Peter 1:20).  We also believe that these truths do not change over time but mean exactly today what they did when they were written by God through His prophets and apostles. 

Thankfully, in God’s providence, we find that the confessions of faith that came out of the Protestant Reformation and were written by godly men representing godly churches are quite consistent with that which we see taught in the Bible.  Furthermore, these written confessions have stood the test of time for as much as four hundred years as accurately stating the truth of the Scriptures taught in the early church up to this present time.  As a result, we know that in holding to these confessions, we are not inventing something new, but remain consistent with the faith of our spiritual forefathers. 

The confessions to which we adhere are the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 along with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms (from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland); as well as the Belgic Confession of Faith (The Netherlands and Belgium), the Heidelberg Catechism (Germany) and the Canons of Dort (The Netherlands).  There are others that are consistent with these to which we give great respect, but have limited ourselves to formal adherence to these.

Very soon, we plan to make all these documents available on our website in downloadable versions.