This Statement of Faith draws upon the themes and language of the creeds of the ancient church and the historic confessions of Protestantism. It reflects our understanding of the meaning of the Bible, and offers a concise description of the principles that ground the teaching and practice of this church.
1. We believe that God has revealed himself to all people in the beauty and order of the world and in the testimony of the human conscience. But God has especially spoken to us in the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that every word was inspired by God through human authors, and therefore, as originally given, its words contain truth without mixture of error. The Bible is sufficiently clear and understandable in its main teaching, and has as its main subject the story of God’s work of redemption in Christ Jesus. It is the final and all-sufficient authority for what we should believe and how we should live.
2. We believe that there is only one living and true God, the Creator, Sustainer, and sovereign Ruler of all that is. God is infinitely holy, perfectly loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, the righteous Judge and only Savior, and to him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. God is intelligent, spiritual, and personal, existing eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
3. We believe that men and women are created by God in his image. All persons therefore possess dignity and worth inherently and equally. Humans were created in goodness, designed to care for creation and submit joyfully to God in loving obedience. But Adam, as representative of the human race, sought to be like God and fell into sin. As a result, human nature is corrupt on every level, guided supremely by selfish desires, willfully disobedient to God and his law, and ever prone to worship creatures rather than the Creator. On their own, then, humans stand condemned to eternal death, unable to save themselves.
4. We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only sufficient mediator between holy God and sinful humanity. Though himself fully God, he became also fully human, lived a sinless life, and in obedience to his father suffered and died on a cross to redeem those under the curse. He was buried, but he rose again three days later. Through his death he erased sin’s penalty for all who believe in him, and through his resurrection he crushed the power of death. Now he lives forever at his Father’s right hand, interceding for his people as their great High Priest.
5. We believe that salvation comes only by God’s grace embraced through personal faith alone. God is sovereign over salvation, graciously choosing persons for redemption even before the world began, not because of any foreseen goodness in them but only because of his mercy in Christ. As a consequence of his choice, they are called by regeneration, justified, sanctified, and finally glorified.
6. We believe that regeneration, or the new birth, is a change of heart wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit, who gives life to those dead in their sins and enlightens their minds to understand and to love the Word of God. As new creatures, the regenerate respond in repentance and faith. Repentance is turning from sin toward God in loving obedience. Faith is acceptance of the gospel promise and commitment of the entire person to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
7. We believe that justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. It is founded only on the obedient life and sacrificial death of Jesus, who suffered punishment as our substitute, not on any good works we have done or could do. Justification depends upon that righteousness which belongs only to Christ but is applied to those sinners who rest on him by faith.
8. We believe that sanctification is a progressive work carried on in the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit, by which they become conformed to the holiness of God in the image of Christ. Through divine strength, believers work out their salvation using resources appointed in Scripture, especially the Word of God, mutual encouragement, corporate worship, and prayer.
9. We believe that glorification is the culmination of salvation, the final, eternal state of all those saved by grace. We believe that genuine believers will persevere faithfully to the end. Though they may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, grieving the Spirit and bringing painful consequences on themselves, they will return again to repentance and be kept by God through faith unto salvation.
The Holy Spirit
10. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the fully divine Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit has been sent into the world to convict sinners, enliven dead hearts, and guide minds to a true understanding of the Scriptures. He lives in all believers from the moment of regeneration, and works to produce assurance of salvation and progress towards Christlikeness. He bestows the spiritual gifts necessary to fill the needs of the church, and empowers the church in its worship, evangelism, and service.
11. We believe that the universal church consists of all the redeemed past and present, and that Jesus Christ is its only authoritative Head. We believe that this church is made visible in local churches, where members covenant together to worship God, preach the Word, celebrate baptism and the Lord’s Supper, care for each other through service and loving discipline, and mobilize for evangelism and ministries of mercy. The officers of the local church are elders and deacons.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
12. We believe that Christ Jesus ordained the practices of baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the good of the church. Christian baptism is the privilege and responsibility of all who profess faith in Christ. This immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is a beautiful sign of our faith in the cleansing power of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and a visible symbol of our death to sin and resurrection to a new life of holiness. The Lord’s Supper is a sacred memorial to the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all, a symbol of our unity in Christ, and a source of blessing to the souls of those who receive it in faith.
13. We believe that Christ Jesus will return again to earth, that the dead will be raised, and that he will judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will pass to eternal punishment, those righteous in Christ to an eternal life of joy in God’s presence. And God will make all things new.