Our Beliefs

Capitol Heights Baptist Church

Doctrinal Teachings

PREAMBLE

The Elders of Capitol Heights Baptist Church recognize that any doctrinal statement is but a fallible human attempt to summarize and systematize the riches of an infallible divine revelation. However, this in no way detracts from the importance of such a statement. The affirmations which follow carefully specify our teaching position with regard to the major biblical doctrines, and thus provide a framework for all ministry and teaching at Capitol Heights Baptist Church. They are meant to provide an anchor to protect the church against theological drift.

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

We believe that the sixty-six books of the Bible constitute the Word of God and is His only written revelation to man, which He has faithfully preserved throughout time. The Scriptures are divinely inspired which means that they were absolutely inerrant and infallible in their original writings (autographs). The Word of God is verbally inspired in every word and equally inspired in every part (plenary inspiration) because God is its Source (Psalm 119:151,160; Matthew 5:18, 24:35; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16). An infallible God cannot write a fallible Book (John 10:35).

We believe that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God's Word to man (2 Peter 1:20 21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16).

The Scriptures were written primarily to common people in the common language of the day and thus are to be interpreted literally, allowing for the use of obvious figures of speech, illustrations, etc., especially where so noted (e.g. Galatians 4:21-31). Literal interpretation also incorporates the historical setting in which each book was written and the language in which each book was written, otherwise known as the historical-grammatical method. This method of interpretation affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal twenty-four hour days. (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).

We believe that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12 15; 1 Corinthians 2:7 15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.

The Bible constitutes the only authoritative, absolute, infallible rule of faith and practice and is fully sufficient to bring men to salvation and maturity in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:3).

GOD

We believe that there is only one true and living God who is infinite, eternal, perfect in all His attributes and ways, and is eternally manifest in three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These Members form the triune Godhead, or Trinity, and are one in essential nature, yet possess distinct personalities. Each Member equally possesses all the attributes of deity and is equally worthy of worship and obedience (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 44:6-7, 45:5-7; Matthew 28:19; Mark 12:29; John 10:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Timothy 2:5).

God the Father

We believe that God the Father, as the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). As the absolute and highest Ruler in the universe He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He created (through the agency of Jesus Christ (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16)) the universe apart from preexisting materials and without means. He has decreed for His own glory all things that occur and He continually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and events (Ephesians 1:11, 1 Chronicles 29:11). This He does so as in no way to be the author or approver of sin nor to remove the accountability of morally intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from all eternity those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).

God the Son

We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and second Person of the Trinity, possesses all the attributes of deity and is co-equal, co-existent, co-eternal with, and of the same nature as the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 5:17-18, 8:58, 10:30, 14:9-10; Colossians 1:19, 2:9). The Father created all things through the Son, by whom all things continue in existence and operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3).

In His incarnation, when He assumed a human nature, Jesus Christ yielded only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. He therefore became the God-Man, being fully human in every way except that He was completely without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22). As God incarnate, Jesus Christ represents full humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2; John 1:1, 14, 14:9; Colossians 2:9).

In His incarnation, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23,25; Luke 1:26-35). The purpose of His incarnation was to glorify God by revealing Him to man, redeeming lost men, and ruling over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; 110:1-7; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 11:27; John 1:18,29, 14:9; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3, 7:25; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Christ accomplished this redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross. His death was voluntary, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (Isaiah 53:1-12; John 10:15, 17-18; Romans 3:24-25, 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2).

Three days after His death, Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead to fulfill prophecy, to divinely confirm His Messiahship and His deity, and to provide proof of the Father’s acceptance of His atoning work on the cross, thus making the believer’s justification sure (Psalm 16:10; Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; John 2:19-21, 20:9; Acts 2:32; Romans 1:4, 4:25; 6:5-10). Jesus’ resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:25-29, 11:23-26; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).

Based on the efficacy of the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romans 3:24-25, 5:8-9,19, 8:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18).

We believe that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38 39; Acts 2:30 31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that He has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26 29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5 10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).

We believe that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His Body, unto Himself at the rapture, and returning in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9 11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13 18; Revelation 20).

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22 23):

                a. Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10 15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

                b. Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31 46)

                c. Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11 15)

As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Head of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King, who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31 33), He is the final Judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14 46; Acts 17:30 31).

God the Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10 13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7 10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13 14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial (of one and the same essence) with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3 4; 28:25 26; 1 Corinthians 12:4 6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; and Jeremiah 31:31- 34 with Hebrews 10:15 17).

The work of the Holy Spirit is to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. This includes His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation of the Son (Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35), the written revelation of God (2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-8). In this present age, the Holy Spirit was sent forth from the Father and the Son to initiate and complete the building of the church, to speak of and glorify the Son, and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 14:16,26, 15:26, 16:7-11, 13-14; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Ephesians 2:19-22).

The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration. He enables every one of the elect to see their need for salvation, without which salvation would be impossible, and then draws them to Jesus Christ (John 6:44, 63; 2 Corinthians 3:6). The Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation, and from that moment He also indwells them with all fullness (John 3:34; 14:17; Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Subsequent to salvation, it is the duty of all those born of the Holy Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit which is evidenced by the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 7:16-20; Galatians 5:16, 22-23, 25; Ephesians 5:18). Concerning His further ministry to the believer, the Holy Spirit also sanctifies them, instructs them, empowers them for service, seals them unto the day of redemption, and transforms them into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:6,18; Ephesians 1:13, 4:7-13,30; 1 John 2:20,27).

The Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher who guided the prophets and apostles into all truth as they committed to writing God’s special revelation, the Bible (John 16:13; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:19-21). He administers spiritual gifts to the church but neither glorifies Himself or His gifts by ostentatious displays. Instead, the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

We believe, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing and exercising of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints. However, the special and extraordinary gifts such as speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning years of the church were meant to point to and authenticate the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never meant to be normal characteristics of believers then or now. (Romans 15:18-19; Ephesians 2:20-22, 4:7, 11-13; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4).

CREATION

We believe the triune God, by a free act, according to His own will and purpose, and for His own glory, without the use of existing materials or secondary causes, brought into being -- immediately and instantaneously in six literal days by the word of His mouth -- the whole visible and invisible universe (Genesis 1:1-27; Exodus 20:8-11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 104:25,26; Isaiah 40:21-31; John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:16,17).

MAN

We believe that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9). God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify Him, enjoy His fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).

In Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers enabling self-recovery, man, in his depraved condition, is hopelessly lost, unwilling and unable to do anything that pleases God. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).

Because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the sole exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).

SALVATION

We believe that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works whatsoever (John 1:12; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5).

Regeneration

We believe that due to the total depravity of mankind, it is necessary for God to take the initiative in salvation. At a time appointed by, and acceptable to, God, those whom God has predestined to life are effectually called by His Word and Spirit out of the state of spiritual death, which is the condition of all men by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. Their minds are spiritually enlightened by God’s grace and power and, as those who are being saved, their hearts are opened to respond to the gospel of God. God takes away their heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh. He renews their will, and by His almighty power He sets them to seek and follow that which is good, at the same time effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ. And to all these changes they come most freely, for they are made willing by divine grace. (Deut. 30:6; Ps. 110:3; Ezek. 36:26-27; Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:30; 11:7; Eph. 1:10, 11, 17, 19; 2:1-6; 2 Thes. 2:13-14).
 

Regeneration, then, is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:4). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God, when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation (John 5:24, 6:37,44).

Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8, Acts 26:20). Divinely-energized and ordained good works will be the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration(1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Galatians 5:16,22-25; Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This divinely empowered obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 15:42-54; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2-3).

While regeneration creates within man a new spirit that is alive to God, the believer still struggles with indwelling sin. The result of this is that the flesh and the Spirit are engaged in an ongoing battle which will never cease until the believer is with the Lord (Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:17; 1 John 1:8). Believers are not exempt from reaping what they sow simply because they are saved and likewise are subject to divine chastening when they sin, even to the point of death (1 Corinthians 11:30-32; Galatians 6:7-8; Hebrews 12:4-13).

This painful and difficult struggle may at times result in the believer falling into grievous sins, even for a period of time (Luke 15:11-32; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 9-11). Fellow believers are to be diligent to restore such a brother to spiritual health in a spirit of love, humility and gentleness, considering their own innate depravity and vulnerability to sin (1 Corinthians 10:12-13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; Galatians 6:1-2). However, continued unrepentant sin calls into question the reality of one’s profession of faith (Matthew 7:15-20, 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-6) and requires the church to deal with such a person according to the guidelines of church discipline, both for his own welfare and the protection of the Body of Christ (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13).

We believe that all true saints will ultimately persevere, that is, though they may sin grievously, incurring the displeasure and chastening of God in their lives, they will not completely apostatize, but will be kept through faith by the power of God (Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Election

We believe that election is the sovereign act of God by which, before the foundation of the world and without regard to the future choices of man, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30, 9:10-24; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2). If God did not graciously elect some to salvation, no one would be saved because man, on his own, has no desire or ability to come to God (John 6:44, 65; Romans 3:11, 8:6-8). God’s sovereign election does not negate man’s responsibility to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36, 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17).

Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, God’s sovereign election will result in what He determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40,44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8). However, the sovereignty of God does not excuse the believer to develop a fatalistic mentality or to become indifferent to the salvation of the lost. Instead it should deepen his love for God, realizing that God has chosen him from eternity past, and therefore motivate even more his desire to obey and serve (Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Corinthians 5:14).

The unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Romans 9:9-18; Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).

Election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes including His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, mercy, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-30; Luke 10:21-22; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).

Although we teach that God is sovereign in electing certain of mankind to everlasting glory, we also teach that He holds every man responsible for the choices he makes and the courses of actions He pursues ( Mat. 25; Rom. 2:1-16; Rev. 20:1-13). Thus all mankind are responsible for their personal response to the Gospel; if they reject the Good News, they may not blame God and are guilty of unbelief. Though we may not reach a perfect understanding of this doctrine in this world, we know that in God's eternal plan of salvation, His divine sovereignty and man's responsibility are in perfect harmony. (John 3:18; Matt. 11:20-24; Acts 13:38-41; 2 Thes. 1:7-10; Luke 22:22).

Sovereign election does not deny God’s love for all mankind or His desire that all be saved (John 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 2:4). His general love for mankind is displayed in His providence, the free offer of the Gospel, and in His longsuffering patience towards mankind. While this may appear contrary to the doctrine of election, both are equal and reconcilable truths in the eyes of God and reflect the majestic and immeasurable greatness of His mind and ways (Job 42:3; Isaiah 40:13-14, 55:8-9; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 2:16). Election in no way means that God acts callously, cruelly or unfairly towards the lost. On the contrary, God says that He takes no pleasure as He executes judgment against them (Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 33:11; Luke 19:41-44), a judgment that is both righteous and deserved (Ezekiel 18:20, 30; Matthew 16:27, 25:41-46; John 3:18-20; Romans 2:6, 6:23; Revelation 20:12-13).

Justification

We believe that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith alone in Christ, repent of sin and place their trust in Him as their Savior, confessing Him as sovereign Lord (Isaiah 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 11:18, 16:31; Romans 2:4, 3:24-25, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 4:5, 7:10; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20, 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

Sanctification

We believe that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2,30, 6:11; Philippians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11, 3:1, 10:10,14, 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

There is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing he positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17,19; Romans 6:1-22, 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23).

In this respect, every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never, in the flesh, completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural (1 John 1:8). Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

Security

We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10, 8:1,31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; Hebrews 7:25, 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).

It is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word. That same Word, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:1-2,15-22, 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13,25-26; Titus 2:11-14; Jude 4). God’s Word also forbids any attitude that downplays or ignores the believer’s responsibility to persevere and grow in Christ-likeness as he is enabled by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:22, 24:13; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 John 5:4).

Separation

We believe that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our love to Him and to avoid bringing reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11). However, such separation is not to be confused with complete withdrawal from unbelievers. While the Christian is not of the world, he remains in the world as a testimony of the light and life offered by Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:13-16, 11:19; Luke 7:34; John 17:14-18; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10).

Believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2). We therefore affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness reflecting the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).

THE CHURCH

We believe that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18). The formation of the church began on the Day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the Rapture (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), and is a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6, 5:32).

The establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament (Acts 14:23,27, 20:17,28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1). The members of the one spiritual Body of Christ are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:24-25).

We believe the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures (Matthew 28:18). The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops/overseers and pastors—Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

These officers lead and rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. However, such authority never allows any leader to exploit the flock nor govern in an authoritative, lording manner (1 Peter 5:3; 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 16). The congregation is to submit to their loving, servant leadership as they teach and lead in accordance with the Word of God (Hebrews 13:7,17).

The local church is to be the center of discipleship, emphasizing the importance of spiritual growth (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), and the need for the discipline of those engaged in unrepentant sin in accordance with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16, 3:10-11).

The New Testament teaches the autonomy of the local church. It is free from any external authority or control, having the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5).

It is Scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith (Acts 15; Romans 15:26-24; Philippians 1:5, 4:15-16; Colossians 4:16). Each local church, through its elders and its interpretation and application of Scripture, is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. However, it is equally unbiblical for true churches to unite with apostate churches—those denying any essential doctrine of the Christian faith—in any form of joint endeavor, being unequally yoked. Such ecclesiastical separation is required by Scripture in spite of other common beliefs and/or values they may share (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Galatians 2:5; Ephesians 5:11; 1 John 2:19; Revelation 18:4). The elders determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, government, etc., and are called to discern the will of God for the unique issues concerning each local assembly (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7,13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

The purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:11-16), by instruction in the Word (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17, 4:2), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8, 2:42).

God has called the church to cooperate with Him as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11). All saints are equally called to the work of service (1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12), not just those in leadership or who serve in a vocational sense, and all saints will be required to give an account for their service (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Concerning spiritual gifts, there were two kinds given the early church: miraculous sign gifts, including divine revelation and healing, given for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrew 2:3-4); and ministering, non-revelatory gifts, given to equip believers to edify one another (Romans 12:6-8). With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are not necessary to validate a man or his message (John 14:26, 16:13, 17:17; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:15, 4:2-4).

False miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive the inhabitants of the earth, possibly even true believers, for a time, in regards to matters such as healing. However, it is not possible to deceive the elect about the identity of our Lord (Matthew 24:24; Revelation 13:13-14). The gift of healing is not normative for today but God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).

Worship

The primary purpose of the people of God is to glorify God. One of the primary ways that God is glorified is through the corporate worship of His people. God is calling out of the nations a people for His own name to assemble together in order to praise Him and glorify Him with hearts and voices. Reverent corporate worship is not optional for the Church; it is one of its very purposes and it manifests on earth the reality of the heavenly assembly. Therefore, the regulative principle in worship is the proper practice of the local church. (Isaiah 43:7; Acts 2:9-11, 41-42, 46-47; 10:45-46; 15:14; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Hebrews 12:22-23, 28-29; 1 Peter 2:9). The practice of head covering is also to be maintained in the gathered assembly; that is, the women of the church are to cover their heads during corporate public worship, while the men are not to have their heads covered (1 Corinthians 11:2-16).

Ordinances

Our Lord Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38-42; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25). Believer’s baptism is a singular act, by immersion (Acts 8:36-39), that beautifully testifies of believers’ faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Christ Jesus in death to sin and resurrection to new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a testimony to the world of our identification with the Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).

Because it is a testimony of the believer’s identification with Christ and subsequent commitment to follow Him, baptism is only for those who, by God’s Grace and provision, have made such a volitional decision; therefore it is not intended for infants or small children presently incapable of such decisions.

The Lord’s Supper is a regular observance of the rich commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes and should always be preceded with solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:23-32). The elements of the Communion table are only representative of the body and blood of Christ and are not changed in any way to that effect.

While believers are commanded to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper out of love and obedience (Matthew 26:26-27; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38, 10:47-48; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25), they do not do so for any merit of salvation (1 Corinthians 1:17). Because salvation is the free gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ (John 4:10; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9), there is no sacramental imparting of saving grace by participation in these ordinances.

 

ISSUES PERTAINING TO CHRISTIAN CONDUCT

Civil Government

God is supreme Lord and King over all the world and has, in that capacity, instituted civil government. He has set up civil authorities, subject to Himself, to rule over communities for His own glory and the public good. For these purposes to be achieved He has given them the powers of life and death, both for the safety and encouragement of all men of good behavior, and for the punishment of the wicked (Romans 13:1-4)

Christians may accept and carry out the duties of public office when called upon to do so, in which case it becomes their responsibility to maintain justice and peace in accordance with the sound laws of the kingdoms and states which they serve, as long as those laws do not contradict the laws of God as given in Scripture. New Testament teaching authorizes them to wage war when this is found to be just and necessary (2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 82:3, 4; Luke 3:14).

As civil rulers are set up by God for the aforementioned purposes, Christians are to be subject to them in respect of all their lawful requirements, and that, for the Lord's sake and for the sake of the Christian’s conscience, and not merely to avoid punishment. They should offer supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under their rule they may live a 'quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty' (Rom. 13:5-7; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2; 1 Pet. 2:17).

The Christian Family

The family was instituted back in the second chapter of Genesis on the sixth day of the creation and is made up of the man (husband/father), woman (wife/mother), and children as God grants fruitfulness according to His will.  The primary purposes of the Christian home are to glorify, enjoy, and serve the Lord together (Genesis 2:18-25; Joshua 24:14-15; Psalm 127:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:31). 

The husband/father is the head of the household and is responsible to lead his household spiritually, to love his wife as his own body and as Christ loves the Church, to bring up his children according to the discipline and instruction of the Lord and to train them in the way they should go, to work in order to provide for the earthly needs of the household, to be content with his wife, to review and approve or disapprove of commitments made by his wife, and to oversee the marriages of his children.  Finally, he is forbidden to deny his wife the opportunity to bear children (Genesis 18:19; 38:8-10; Exodus 20:17; 21:10-11; Numbers 30:13-15; Proverbs 5:15-23; 22:6; Matthew 5:28; 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, 36-38; Ephesians 5:25-33; 6:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Peter 3:7).

The wife/mother is the helper of the man; and she is to love and respect her husband, be in subjection to her husband, bear children as God grants the ability, love her children, be a faithful keeper of the home, keep the household well supplied with food and clothing, be a disciple of her husband, fulfill his needs as a faithful companion, and exercise charity (Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 2:18; Proverbs 31:10-31; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; 14:34-35; Ephesians 5:22-24, 33; 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6).

Children are commanded by God to both honor and obey their parents.  This is practiced in obedience to their teaching and commands, as well as taking care of them in their old age (Exodus 20:12; 21:15, 17; Proverbs 1:8; 30:17; Mark 7:10; Ephesians 6:1-3; 1 Timothy 5:4, 8).  

Christian Marriage

MARRIAGE is to be between a man and a woman. It is not lawful for any person to participate in polyamory or polyandry (Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:5, 6).

GOD instituted marriage for the mutual help, benefit, and pleasure of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind in accordance with His laws, and for the prevention of immorality (Gen. 1:28; 2:18; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9; Song of Solomon).

IT is biblical for all sorts of people to marry, provided that they are able to give their rational consent. But it is the duty of Christians to marry only 'in the Lord'. In consequence, those who profess the Christian faith should not contract marriages with infidels or idolaters. It is also quite unfitting for godly persons to become partners in marriage with persons who lead wicked lives or who maintain damnable heresies (Neh. 13:25-27; 1 Cor. 7:39; 1 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 13:4).

MARRIAGE must not be contracted within the degrees of blood relationship or kinship forbidden in God's Word. Nor when such incestuous unions occur can they ever be made right in the sight of God, either by any law of man or by the consenting parties, and the persons concerned can never rightly live together as man and wife. (Lev. 18; Mark 6:18; 1 Cor. 5: 1.)

We teach that marriage was given by God as part of His common grace, and that it has no meaning other than as He has provided (Gen. 2:18–24). We teach that marriage is subject to the curse of the Fall but that believers, living in obedience to the Scripture and under the control of the Holy Spirit, can begin to experience peaceful, productive, and fulfilled marriage as intended by God (Gen. 3:16; 1 Peter 3:7).

We teach that the marriages of believers are to illustrate the loving relationship of Christ and His church, with the husband loving his wife as Christ loves the church and the wife responding to her husband’s loving leadership as the church responds to Christ (Eph. 5:18–33).

We teach that as believers’ marriages are to illustrate Christ’s relationship with His church, believers should choose to marry those who share their faith and regenerate life (2 Cor. 6:14).

We teach that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in scripture (Gen. 2:23–24).

We teach that marriage is always a public, formal, and officially recognized covenant between a man and a woman. We teach that without such a covenant, which may include a “common law marriage,” where valid in specific cases under pertinent law, prolonged conjugal cohabitation does not establish, and is not equivalent to, marriage (John 4:18).

We teach that where no such covenant exists, or can be discerned, between a cohabiting couple prior to coming to faith in Christ, family units should be preserved to the extent possible and, if otherwise appropriate, solemnization encouraged.

We teach that where a valid marriage has been established prior to coming to faith in Christ, the couple should remain married (1 Cor. 7:24).

We teach that God hates divorce, permitting it only where there has been unrepentant sexual sin (Mal. 2:14–16; Matt. 5:32, 19:9) or desertion by an unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:12–15). We teach that remarriage is permitted to a faithful partner, but only when the divorce was on biblical grounds.

We teach that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We teach that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman (Heb. 13:4).

We teach that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, pornography, any attempt to change one’s sex or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God (Lev. 18:1–30; Matt. 5:28; Rom. 1:26–29; 1 Cor. 5:1, 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1–8).

We teach that homosexuality, in particular, is subject to God’s wrath of abandonment, is a matter of choice and not inherited status, and epitomizes man’s ungrateful rebellion against God (Rom. 1:18–28).

We teach that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture or the doctrines of the church.

We teach that the faithful proclamation of the Scripture, including the call to repentance, does not constitute hate speech, or hateful and harassing behavior, but is instead a fundamental part of the church’s loving mission to the world (Matt. 28:16–20; 2 Cor. 5:11–20; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:1–2).

We teach that the faithful proclamation of the Scripture, including the call to repentance, does not constitute hate speech, or hateful and harassing behavior, but is instead a fundamental part of the church’s loving mission to the world (Matt. 28:16–20; 2 Cor. 5:11–20; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:1–2).

We teach that God offers redemption and forgiveness to all who confess and forsake their sin, including sexual sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We teach that His forgiveness is total and complete (Ps. 103:11–12, 130:3–4; Is. 43:25, 44:22; John 5:24; Col. 2:13–14) and that God imputes the full righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21) to the believing sinner.

We teach that the forgiven sinner has been cleansed from the guilt of sin, set apart unto God, or made holy, and justified before Him (1Cor. 6:9–11). We teach that any man or woman who has received that forgiveness is “in Christ” and is a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).

ANGELS

We believe that angels are created spirit beings who appear to be the first issue of God’s creation (Genesis 1:1 with Job 38:6-7; Nehemiah 9:6). They are a higher order of creation (Psalm 8:5 with Hebrews 2:7-9) and were created to serve God and worship Him. They are greater in power than man (2 Peter 2:11), but as created beings they are not to be worshipped.

Sin originated in Satan – who, as a created angel, held an exalted position among the hosts of heaven. He rebelled against God and was subsequently cast out of God’s presence, taking a large number of the angels with him (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:1-14). Due to this rebellion the angels were forever divided into two categories: the unfallen, or holy, angels and the fallen angels (also called demons in Scripture):

Holy Angels

We believe that the holy angels serve God and worship Him (Psalm 103:20-21; Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9). They presently are engaged in spiritual warfare with the demonic host and serve as ministering agents for believers (Daniel 10:12-13; Hebrews 1:14; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7-8).

Fallen Angels (demons)

We believe that the fallen angels were initially created perfect and enjoyed fellowship with God but rebelled against Him and were cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-15; Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:7-9). Salvation is not extended to them as they are destined for a certain, eternal judgment (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

At the head of the demonic host is the devil, or Satan. As a created being, he possesses none of the attributes of deity and should not be treated as though he does. He is the author of sin and incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), taking an apparent one-third of the angels with him in his fall (Revelation 12:4), and introducing sin into the human race with his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).

Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; John 10:10; Revelation 12:9-10). He is also the prince, or god, of this present evil world system which opposes the true God (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2) and holds the entirety of unbelieving humanity under his control (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:26; 1 John 5:19). He violently opposes believers and their service to the Lord (Job 1-2; Luke 22:31; John 17:15; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10). However, he is powerless against God and has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 14:30, 16:11; Romans 16:20; Colossians 2:15), and he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

Though we believe that demon possession of unbelievers is possible, we do not believe that true Christians can be demon possessed or demonized (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 4:4). There is no place in the Scriptures that teaches or encourages believers to engage Satan and demons directly, whether by speaking to them, binding them, or casting them out. Rather, the children of God are called to resist and to put on the full armor of God as their means of protection against the devil and his demons (Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8, 9; 1 John 4:4 and 5:18).

LAST THINGS (ESCHATOLOGY)

We believe that the study of eschatology should give hope and comfort to believers while challenging them to live for the glory of God as they look forward to the consummation of His eternal plan, and to spending eternity with Him (Luke 21:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:10-14; 1 John 2:28-3:3; Revelation 1:3). Eschatology can be divided into two categories: (1) individual, which relates to the destiny of every man, saved and lost, and; (2) cosmic, which relates to the completion of history and God’s eternal plan.

Individual Eschatology

We believe that physical death results in a separation of soul/spirit and body but involves no loss of immaterial consciousness (Matthew 22:32; Luke 16:19-31, 20:37-38; Revelation 6:9-11). All men will be bodily raised from the dead, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:13-15).

The soul/spirit of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ at death (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8). The separation of soul/spirit and body will continue until the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), when the soul/spirit and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until then, the soul/spirit of the redeemed remains in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).

The soul/spirit of the lost passes immediately into punishment at death (Luke 16:19-26). The separation of soul/spirit and body will continue until the second resurrection at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul/spirit and body will be reunited (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire, cut off from the life and presence of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Cosmic Eschatology

The Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth both literally and bodily, just as He left the earth when He ascended into Heaven. His return will be at the end of the seven-year period which is also known as Daniel’s 70th week and the time of Jacob’s trouble. At this time Christ will return with the armies of Heaven in order to judge His enemies. Both the beast and the false prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss, where he will remain for a literal 1,000 years during which time Christ will reign on the earth with His people. At the end of the 1,000 years Satan will be loosed for a short time, and deceive the unbelieving offspring of those in the kingdom to come against Christ and His people. At that time Satan will be defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire, where he will be tormented forever and those whom he deceived will be devoured by fire. The resurrection of the unjust will take place and they will stand before God at the Great White Throne in order to be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire. God will then create a new Heaven and a new earth where He and His people will dwell together in sweet fellowship throughout all eternity. There will be no more sin, tears, suffering, sickness, or death. God will be glorified by His creatures and His creatures will be completely satisfied in Him. (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:21, 29-31; Luke 21:25-28; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-15; 21:1-22:5).

 
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