Lakeland Bible Church
Studying the Word of God

Doctrinal Summary

LAKELANDBIBLE.ORG
Federal Way, WA
Nathaniel
 Sison, Pastor

 


DOCTRINAL SUMMARY


The Scriptures 
We believe the Scriptures, in the original autographs, to be the word of God, authoritative, and free from error.  (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Matt. 5:18; John 16:12-13; Heb. 4:12).  We believe that all Scriptures center about the Lord Jesus Christ, and that no portion, even of the Old Testament, is properly read, or understood, until it leads to Christ (Luke 24:27). 

The Mystery of the Godhead 
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists as revealed in the Scripture in three persons--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--and that these three are one God.  (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; Mark 12:29; John 1:1-14; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6). We further believe that the terms “Father,” Son,” and “sons of God” are terms of accommodation and used in the language of Scripture to show relationship by analogy. 

The Father 
We believe that the Father is the sovereign planner of creation and redemption and that His plan for the human race is one of grace, eternally centered in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 1:11). 

The Christ 
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful mankind; that He accomplished redemption for all mankind through His death on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice; that redemption is made valid to us by His resurrection from the dead (Phil. 2:5-9; John 1:1-2, 14; Luke 1:35; Rom. 3:24-25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5); that He now fulfills the ministry of High Priest, Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Heb. 9:24; Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2). 

The Holy Spirit 
We believe that the Holy Spirit ministers to humankind in these ways: 

  1. The unbeliever is convicted of the sin of unbelief, of righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), and restrained from maximum evil (2 Thess. 2:6-7). 
  2. At the moment of salvation, the believer is permanently regenerated, baptized into the body of Christ, and sealed unto the day of redemption (John 3:3-7; 1 Cor 6:19; Eph. 1:13; 1 Cor. 12-13; Rom. 6:1-9). 
  3. The believer is commanded to be filled by (yielded to the control of) the Spirit (Rom. 6:13, Eph. 5:18), but the Spirit is grieved or quenched by sin in the life (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19).  Control (filling) by the Holy Spirit is restored by confession of sin (1 John 1:7-9; 1 Cor. 11:31).  The result is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), which becomes apparent as the believer grows in the grace and knowledge of Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). 
  4. Spiritual gifts are bestowed by the Holy Spirit on every believer at the moment of salvation (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; 28-30; Eph. 4:11).  Some spiritual gifts (such as apostleship, tongues, healing, and prophecy) were temporary in nature, used by God only until the completion of the canon of Scripture. 

We further believe the Holy Spirit, according to the divine promise dwells in every believer, and by His baptism unites all to Christ in one body.  We believe that the Holy Spirit is the source of all power and all acceptable worship and service.  He never departs from the church, nor from the weakest of Christians, but is ever present to testify only of Christ; seeking to occupy believers with Christ and not with themselves nor with their experiences.  (John 14:16-17; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 2:22; 2 Thess. 2:7).  A believer’s understanding of one’s relationship to the Holy Spirit and an informed use of prayer to the Father provide the basis for spirituality in the walk of the individual. 

Angels 
We believe the Biblical account that God created an innumerable company of sinless spiritual beings, known as angels; that one, whom the Scripture identifies as “Lucifer, son of the morning,” revolted against God through pride; that a great number of the angels followed him in his moral fall.  (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).  
We believe that Lucifer, also known as Satan, is the originator of sin, and that, under the permission of God, he, through his own ambition, continues to exalt himself against God; that he appears to humans as an angel of light, even counterfeiting the works of God by fostering religious movements, systems of doctrine and undue emphasis on mundane issues which are characterized by a denial of the efficacy of the blood of Christ and of salvation by grace alone.(Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 5:12-14; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:10-12; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 4:1-3). 
We believe that Satan was judged at the Cross, though not then executed, and that he, a usurper, now rules as the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4); that the Bible teaches that he will be judged in the future.  (Col. 2:15; Rev. 20:1-3, 10) 
We believe that a great company of angels kept their original holy estate and that they presently serve the purpose of God and are sent forth as ministering spirits to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation.  (Luke 15:10; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 7:12). 
We believe that man was made lower than the angels; and that, in His incarnation, Christ took for a little time this lower place that He might lift the believer to His own sphere above the angels.  (John 1:14; Heb. 2:6-10). 

Humankind 
We believe that Adam and Eve (sciential human beings--homo sapiens sapiens) were created in the immaterial image and likeness of God, and that they fell through sin, and, as a consequence of sin, lost their spiritual life.  We also believe that this spiritual death, or total depravity of human nature, has been transmitted to the entire human race and hence that every human is born into this world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but is essentially sinful and unchangeable apart from divine grace.  We further believe that the original sin nature (Adamic nature) in mankind cannot of itself be improved and that by the grace of God all who believe in Christ as Savior are imputed with the righteousness of God and that the new nature derived from this needs no improvement but is wholly acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:17; 6:5; Ps. 14:1-3; 51:5; Jer. 17:9; John 3;6; 5:40; 6:35; Rom. 3:10-23; 5:12-19; Eph. 2:1-3, 12; 1 Tim 5:6; 1 John 3:8). 

The Dispensations 
We believe that the dispensations are periods of stewardship by which God administers His purpose on the earth through humankind under varying responsibilities and that His purpose is entirely related to redemption and justification.  We believe that the changes in the dispensational dealings of God with humankind depend on changed conditions or situations in which humankind is successively found with relation with God, and that these changes are the result of the failures of humans and the judgments of God.  We believe that different administrative responsibilities are manifest in the Biblical record, that they span the entire history of humankind, and that each ends in the failure of humankind under the respective test in an ensuing judgment from God.  We believe that three of the dispensations are the subject of extended revelation in the scriptures, viz., the dispensation of the Mosaic law, the present dispensation of grace, and the future dispensation of the millennial kingdom.  We believe that these are distinct and are not to be intermingled or confused, as they are chronologically successive and not cumulative. 
We believe that the dispensations are not ways of salvation or different methods of administering the so-called Covenant of Grace.  They are not in themselves dependent on covenant relationships but are ways of life and responsibility to God, which test the submission of humankind to His revealed will during a particular time.  We believe that if humans insist in trusting their own efforts to gain the favor of God or salvation under any of the dispensational tests that, because of inherent sin, the failure to satisfy fully the just requirements of God is inevitable. 
We believe that according to the “eternal purpose” of God (Eph. 3:11) salvation by the divine reckoning is always “by grace through faith,” and rests upon the basis of the finished work of Christ as the sacrifice for our sins.  We believe that God has always been gracious, regardless of the ruling dispensation (Rom. 4:1-9; Gen. 15:6; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23).  However, humankind has not been, at all times, under an administration or stewardship of grace as is true in the present dispensation.  (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; 3:9; Col. 1:25; 1 Tim. 1:4). 
We believe that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6), and that the principle of faith was prevalent in the lives of all the Old Testament saints.  However, we believe that it was historically impossible that they should have had as the conscious object of the faith the incarnate, crucified Son, the Lamb of God (John 1:29).  We believe that it is evident that they did not comprehend, as we do, the sacrifices depicted the person and work of Christ.  We believe also that they did not understand the redemptive significance of the prophecies or types concerning the sufferings of Christ (1 Pet. 1:10-12); therefore we believe that their faith toward God was manifested in other ways as is shown by the long record in Hebrews 11:1-40.  We believe further that their faith thus manifested was counted unto them for righteousness and tantamount to our having received Christ as personal Savior (Rom. 4:1-17).  The Old Testament believer anticipated a future salvation by faith and we today are able to view the historical fact of it.  (cf. Rom. 4:3 with Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:5-8; Heb. 11:7). 

The First Advent of Jesus Christ 
We believe that as provided and purposed by God and as anticipated in Scriptural prophecies, the eternal Son of God came into this world to manifest God to humankind, fulfill prophecy, and redeem humankind.  To this end He was born of the virgin, and received a human body and a sinless nature.  [potuit non peccare – non potuit peccare]  This means that Jesus Christ was free from both hereditary depravity and actual sin.  (Luke 1:30-35; John 1:18; 3:16; John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). 
We believe that on the human side, He became and remained a perfect man, but sinless throughout His life; yet he retained His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man, and that His earth-life sometimes functioned within the sphere of that which was human and sometimes within the sphere of that which was divine.  (Luke 2:40; John 1:1-2; Phil. 2:5-8). 
We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah-king, and that being rejected of that nation, gave His life as a ransom for all according to the eternal counsels of God.  (John 1:11; Acts 2:22-24; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Peter 2:7 cf. Isa. 28:16). 
We believe that in infinite love for the lost, He voluntarily accepted His Father’s will and became the divinely provided sacrificial Lamb and took away the sin of the world, bearing the holy judgments against sin which the righteousness of God must impose.  His death was therefore substitutionary in the most absolute sense—the just for the unjust—and by His death He became the Savior of mankind.  (John 1:29; Rom. 3:25-26; 2 Cor. 5:14; Heb. 10:5-14; 1 Pet. 3:18). 
We believe that, according to the Scriptures, He arose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which he had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of the body which ultimately will be given to all believers.  (John 20:20; Phil. 3:20-21). 
We believe that, on departing from the earth, He was accepted of His Father and that His acceptance is a final assurance to us that His redeeming work was perfectly accomplished.  (Heb. 1:3, 13). 
We believe that He became Head over all things to the church, which is His body, and in this ministry, He ceases not to intercede and advocate for the saved.  (Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1). 

Salvation 
We believe that salvation is the gift of God given by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins  (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12; Eph 1:7).  God does not overrule man’s free will in accepting or rejecting His provision of salvation (2 Pet. 3:9; John 5:16, 18.  Individuals appropriate salvation on the simple basis of informed belief (Acts 4:12; 16:31; John 20:31; 1 John 5:11-12).  By informed belief, we mean that they are provided with Gospel information from the scriptures and they personally accept or believe that information.  

Salvation Only Through Christ 
We believe that owing to universal death through sin, no one is saved unless regenerated; and that no degree of reformation however great, no moral attainments however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to make even one step toward heaven; but a new nature, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are the sons of God.  We believe, also, that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us, dying in our behalf; and that no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolution, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church, nor all the churches that have existed since the days of the Apostles can add in the very least degree to value of the sacrifice of Christ, or to the merit of the finished work wrought for us by Him who united in His person true and proper deity with perfect and sinless humanity.  (Lev. 17:11; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 26:28; John 3:7-18; Rom. 5:6-9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:313; 6:15; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18-23). 
We believe that the new birth (regeneration) of the believer comes only through faith in Christ and that repentance (metanoia, change of mind) is a vital part of believing, and is in no way, in itself, a separate and independent condition of salvation; nor or any subsequent acts, such as confession, baptism, prayer, or faithful service, to be added to believing as a condition of salvation.  (John 1:12; 3:16: 18, 5:24; 6:29; Acts 13:39; 16:31; Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22, 26; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 3:22). 

The Extent of Salvation 
We believe that when an unregenerate person exercises faith in Christ as illustrated and described in the New Testament, that that person passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life, and from the old creation into the new; being justified from all things, accepted before the Father according as Christ His Son is accepted, loved as Christ is loved, having a position and portion as linked to him and one with Him forever.  While the saved one may have occasion to grow in a greater realization of blessing and to know a fuller measure of divine power through a volitional willingness to serve God, that person is, as soon as salvation occurs, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ.  Believers in Christ are therefore in no way required by God to seek a so-called “second blessing,” a “second work of grace,” or make a commitment to Jesus as Lord (He is already their Lord) in order to secure salvation or to continue in the Christian life.  (John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 1:1-9; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Eph 1:3; Col. 2:10; 1 John 4:17; 5:11-12). 
We believe that sanctification, which is a setting-apart unto God, is threefold.  It is already complete for every saved person because his position toward God is the same as Christ’s position.  Because the believer is in Christ, the believer is set apart unto God in the measure in which Christ is set apart unto God.  We believe however, that the believer retains the sin nature, which cannot be eradicated in this life.  There is, therefore, a progressive sanctification wherein the Christian is to “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ,” (2 Pet. 3:18), and be changed by the power of the Spirit.  We believe, also, that the child of God will yet be fully sanctified in status as he/she is now sanctified in standing in Christ when each shall appear before Him.  (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:24; 5:25-27; 1 Thess. 5:23: Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:10). 

The Eternal Security of Believers 
We believe that all believers are secure forever; that is, that a believer’s salvation cannot be lost.  (Rom. 8; John 10:27-30; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Jude 24: 1 John 5:11-13).  We believe this because of the eternal purpose of God toward the objects of His love, because of His freedom to exercise grace toward the meritless on the basis of the blood of Christ, because of the very nature of the divine gift of eternal life, because of the present and unending intercession and advocacy of Christ in heaven, because of the immutability of the unchangeable covenants of God, and because of the regenerating, abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who are saved.  We also believe, that God is a holy and righteous Father and that, because He cannot overlook the sin and rebellion of His children, He will, when they persistently sin, chasten them and correct them in infinite love; that this chastening or correction is often not grievous and should not be feared or avoided but instead welcomed as one would welcome all acts of bestowed love.  We further believe, that God having undertaken to save us and keep us forever, apart from all human merit, that He who cannot fail, will in the end present every one of us faultless before the presence of His glory and conformed to the image of His Son.  (John 5:24; 10:28; 13:1; 14:16-17; 17:11; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; 5:13; Jude 24). 

Assurance 
We believe it is the privilege, not only of some, but of all who are regenerated by the Spirit through faith in Christ as revealed in the Scriptures, to be assured of their salvation from the very day they take Him to be their Savior and that this assurance is not founded upon any fancied discovery of their own worthiness or fitness, but wholly upon the testimony of God in His written Word, exciting within His children filial love, gratitude, and obedience.  (Luke 10:20; 22:32; 2 Cor. 5:1, 6-8; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 10:22; 1 John 5:13). 
Self-Righteousness 
We believe that only God is righteous and that His righteousness is understood as His faithfulness to His Word.  Many Christians, in what may be viewed as a positive attempt to establish a moralistic lifestyle, have inadvertently adopted an attitude characterized by a vain estimate of self-worth before God.  They become judgmental toward other believers and tend to make comparisons as to what is correct behavior.  They also assert that unless one behaves as they do one is “not right with God.”  We believe that this was the type of self-righteousness displayed by the Pharisees which Jesus rejected in contrast to the righteousness of the kingdom, (Matt. 5:20ff; 6:33ff; Luke 18:9ff).  The message of the Gospel is that God declares the believer righteous only in Christ.  Thus an attitude of self-righteousness is excluded (Eph. 2:9; Titus 3:5) and categorically condemned (Matt. 6:1ff)..  We believe that the New Testament teaches that righteousness is impossible as a human accomplishment but is a gracious gift to humankind because of Christ’s accomplishment.  We believe that morality is incumbent on every member of the human race and that moral responsibility is not in itself evidence that the Christian is obeying Christ.  (Phil. 3:8-14; Titus 3:5; Gal. 2:21; 1 John 2:29; 3:7-10).

Self Examination 
We believe that the New Testament clearly teaches the need for the scrutiny of one’s inner self to determine his spiritual status, motives, and attitudes.  The believer is to examine himself/herself to ascertain whether he/she is in proper relationship to God and to man.  The purpose of self-examination is to know oneself, to discover weaknesses and frailties, so as to appropriate the grace and forgiveness of God.  Likewise, the Christian is taught “to judge” (diakrino) himself/herself.  When the believer performs self-examination and accepts the correction (chastening) he/she is no longer under condemnation.  Self-examination leads to confession and forgiveness (1 Cor. 11:31). 
We also believe that in questionable or borderline issues where certain practices are allowed by some and disallowed by others, the believer is not to judge his/her fellow believer; rather he/she is to examine their personal motives lest they become a stumbling block (Rom. 14:13).  Thus by careful, prayerful self-examination believers may determine to themselves that they in fact are in Christ and controlled by the Spirit.  (Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor 11:28-32; 2 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 5:10; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 1:7-9).  Furthermore, Christians are counseled to judge themselves in order to realize their current spiritual status and to prove what values are true and durable (Rev. 3:18).  Such self-judgment should be a stimulus to faith and a means of exercising humility and holy living (Heb. 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:21-23).  Self-examination is not morbid introspection, remorse, or regret, for “if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20). 

The Responsibility of All Believers 
We believe that all believers should seek to walk is such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Lord and Savior which includes biblical separation, though not isolation, (1 Cor. 5:9-13; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 2 Cor. 6:14; 7:1); that it is the obligation and privilege of every believer to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all the world (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor 5:20); that it is the responsibility of all believers to remember the ministry of the Word and the Gospel in prayer, support it with their means as the Lord has prospered them, and to regularly and faithfully assemble themselves together for study and worship.  (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7).  We further believe that it is the responsibility of all believers to obey the laws of the land and to pray for the leaders of their nation (Rom. 13:1-7).  At the same time we believe it is necessary to distinguish between spiritual and secular responsibilities because we readily recognize that moral responsibility is universal and human government is secular therefore no attempt should be made to infuse spiritual values into the infrastructure of the state. (Matt. 22:21; 23:23; Rom. 13:1-7).  This position is based on the following considerations: 
First, Christians should not expect to find in biblical revelation some ideal or unchanging model of government by which to evaluate their responsibility in contemporary reality.  No where in the Bible is there found an ideal of monarchy or republicanism or some other political system as the unchanging, true system to follow.  The human search for an ideal system comes from the writings of Plato (The Republic) and Augustine (The City of God).  A careful reading of Thomas More’s Utopia should dispel all aspirations in this regard.  What we do find in the Bible is instance after instance of instruction and example regarding God’s normative demand of justice.  Some of those examples are embedded in historical incidents so as to furnish us with indelible images of the importance of justice as necessary to the welfare of all humans, and equally to implant in our thinking the clear concept of the justice of God toward us.  God’s command to do justice required different responses when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, or when it had entered Canaan, or when it was sent into exile.  A modern state is quite different from an ancient empire, and the contemporary problems of urban culture, nuclear weapons, environmental destruction, economic polarity, and greatly expanded human population will require responses different from those offered in the past.  Rather than continuing the subjective, emotional debate about competing ideals, Christians should turn to a critical assessment of their political traditions and ideologies in the light of a deeper understanding of biblical revelation about justice. 
Second, the character of the modern state and how it came to be so configured is a phenomenon that requires a thorough understanding of political and economic history.  Thus, the kind of education that we give our children is crucial.  It is important (under the salt principle, Matt. 5:13), that Christians maintain a visible presence in all education systems.  This means supporting them and becoming involved at every level.  We cannot merely read passages from the Bible about “government” and then simply impose them on contemporary society without careful interpretation.  The Roman world in which Christianity arose had a very limited notion of “citizenship” and less consideration for individual liberties and rights.  Most people in that world were simply “subjects” under the enforced authority (supposedly divine by pagan standards) of an emperor.  There were no political parties, no universal suffrage, (keep in mind that only after the twentieth century was well under way were women allowed to vote in the United States) no freedom of speech or press, and no separation of church and state.  The very idea of the modern state is relatively new.  It was unknown in the medieval period or even in ancient Greece, where the whole political structure was actually a pagan theocracy fraught with superstition and myth.  Without a grasp of the state’s character and the modern ideologies that shape it, we cannot begin to consider a biblical view of it.  
Finally, we must consider our modern pluralistic world.  We live in a “global village.”  Pluralism is a term that has at least two meanings.  (1) Philosophically it means the belief that reality is multiple, that there is no single truth, that there is no ultimate right, that absolutes in every area must be destroyed or overcome.  The “many” is better than the “one”.  As Christians and believers in the authenticity of the Bible we are unable to accept such a definition.  (2) Pluralism also refers to a social condition, to a diverse and often complex religious, ethnic, and multi-cultured population living together in the same nation under a single government.  Most conservative Christians today are in one way or another put off by pluralism both philosophically and socially.  However, we believe that in both cases it should be properly identified and studied in order that the Gospel message may be clearly presented.  In fact, it is into “all the world” (nations, ethne) that the disciples of Christ are sent to evangelize.  Since the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation,” (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18) we have nothing to fear.  We welcome open dialogue and stand ready to establish any practical forum for the exchange of objective ideas.  (1 Cor. 1:19; 2:1-16).  The world is rapidly becoming a closely interconnected network of communications systems, cultural exchanges, trade relations, military dangers, and environmental limits.  While Christians everywhere are concerned and excited about end time events, about the challenge to Christ’s sovereignty by Antichrist with a global design they seem to misdirect their efforts by desiring to build a pseudo-theocratic utopia on this earth rather than properly evangelize it and teach the Word of God. 

The Christian Walk - Spirituality 
We believe that when a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ as personal savior he is immediately, and forever after, capable of spirituality.  Spirituality is the way of life accomplished in the believer by the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:4).  We further believe that we are called with a holy calling, to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and so to live in the power of the indwelling Spirit so as not to fulfill the lust of the flesh.  However, the flesh with its fallen, Adamic nature, which in this earthly life is never eradicated, needs to be kept by the Spirit constantly in subjection to Christ, or it will surely manifest its presence in our lives to the dishonor of our Lord.  (Rom. 6:11-13; 8:2, 4, 12-13; Gal. 5:16-23; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 2:1-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:4-7; 3:5-9).  

Christian Service 
We believe that the Holy Spirit bestows upon all who are saved divine enabling gifts for service.  While there is a diversity of gifts, the same Spirit energizes each believer, and each is called to their own divinely appointed service as the Spirit may will.  In the first century apostolic church, there were certain gifted believers--apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and pastor/teachers--who were appointed by God for the perfecting of the saints unto their work of the ministry.  (Acts 16:14; 18:2-26; Rom. 12:6; 16:3; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 16:19; Eph. 4:11ff).  We believe also that today some men are especially called of God to be evangelists, pastors, and teachers, and that it is fulfilling His will and to His eternal glory that these shall be sustained and encouraged in their service for God.  We believe that women also have the obligation and privilege of ministry as indicated by Priscilla and Lydia in the above scripture references.  On the other hand, we do not subscribe to the present neo-Pentecostal notion that women preachers are legitimate messengers of God.  We only ask that their message, statement of faith, and doctrines be carefully examined.  If after honest inquiry they are found to be legitimate, we then encourage them in their desire to serve the Lord.  The message of the Bible is Christ and His glory--not human emotion and self-aggrandizement. 
We believe that, wholly apart from salvation benefits that are bestowed equally upon all who believe, rewards are promised according to the faithfulness of each believer in one’s service for the Savior, and that these rewards will be bestowed at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  (1 Cor. 3:9-15; 9:18-27; 2 Cor. 5:10).  We further anticipate that all those receiving such rewards will, in turn, bestow them in gratitude upon the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 11:33-36; Heb. 2:7-9; Phil. 2:5-11; Rev. 4:11).  

The Great Commission 
We believe that it is the explicit message of Jesus Christ to those whom He has saved that they are sent forth by Him into the world even as He was sent forth of His Father into the world.  We believe that, after they are saved, they are divinely reckoned to be related to the world as strangers and pilgrims, ambassadors and witnesses, and that their primary purpose in life should be to make Christ known to the whole world.  (Matt. 28:19-20; John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:11). 
The Church: Visible – Local - Autonomous 
We believe that the body of Christ is visibly functional through autonomous organizations called local churches.  The establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures.  (Acts 14:27; Acts 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11; 1 Cor. 1:1-2; Phil. 1:1)..  
We also believe that all Christians of like-mind should serve together and not against one another in a local community to further the cause of Christ.  In addition, we believe that Christians should join a local church and become involved in its ministry.  

The Church: Universal 
We believe that the church (the body of Christ) began on the day of Pentecost.  It is distinct from Israel, a spiritual organism made of all believers irrespective of affiliation with Christian denominations or ecclesiastical organizations.  We further believe that by the Holy Spirit all believers since Pentecost are baptized into, and thus become, one body that is Christ’s, whether Jew or Gentile, and having become members one of another, are under solemn duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian differences, and loving one another with a pure heart fervently.  (Matt. 16:16-18; Acts 2:42-47; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:1-2; 12:12-27; Eph. 1:20-23; 4:3-10; 5:25-27; Col. 1:18; 3:14-15). 

Church Ordinances 
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ while on earth instituted only two ordinances: 

  1. Baptism by immersion for adult believers (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41; 8:12, 36-38; 1 Cor. 1:16). 
  2. Communion as a reminder (memorial) of His sacrifice.  (Luke 22:19-20; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23-26). 

Things to Come - Eschatology 
We believe that according to the word of God, the next great event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be the coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself into Heaven both His own who are alive and remain unto His coming, and all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that the event is the blessed hope set before us in the Scripture, and for this we should be constantly waiting.  (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14).   This view is popularly known as the Pre-tribulation Rapture view. 

The Tribulation 
We believe that the translation (rapture) of the church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6:1-19:21) during which the church, the body of Christ, will be in heaven.  The whole period of Israel’s seventieth week will be a time of judgment on the whole earth, at the end of which the Age of Israel will be brought to a close.  The latter half of this period will be the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), which our Lord called the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15-21).  We believe that universal righteousness will not be realized before the Second Coming of Christ, but that the world is day-by-day ripening for judgment and that the age will end with a fearful apostasy. 
The Second Coming of Christ 
We believe that the period of great tribulation on the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went, in person on the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory to introduce the millennial age, to bind Satan and place him in the abyss, to lift the curse which now rests upon the whole of creation, to restore Israel to her own land and to give her the realization of God’s covenant promises and to bring the whole world to the knowledge of God.  (Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 11:9; Ezek. 37:21-28; Matt. 24:15-25:46; Acts 15:16-17: Rom. 8:19-23; 11:25-27; 1 Tim. 3:1-5; Rev. 20:1-3). 

The Eternal State – Death and the Afterlife 
We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him forever in glory.  However, the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment of the Great White Throne at the close of the Millennium, when soul and body reunited shall be cast in the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction, separation from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power and majesty.  (Luke 16:19-26; 23:42; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15). 

Declaration 
We believe that all believers are subject to their conscience as unto the Lord, therefore no Christian can be forced to believe or accept the articles of any creed.  Furthermore, we declare that no one in our church community will ever be judged or tested on the basis of their subscription or non-subscription to these articles.  The grace principle is, that every believer is free to learn the content of the Word of God, and as they grow they will, in submission to God’s will, learn to glorify Christ.  This doctrinal summary will pass away, but the Word of God shall endure forever.