Concerning Prophecy: We hold a pretribulational and
premillenial view of future events. This
means we see a “rapture” or a taking of the church out of the world before the
great Tribulation. We see the return of
Christ to earth as occurring at the end of the Tribulation. At that time He will establish His earthly
and Predestination/Foreknowledge/Election: We believe that salvation is by God’s grace, through
faith, and cannot be achieved by any works of man. We believe that God foreknew that man would
sin, yet God did not cause man to sin, in the same way that God foreknew that
the Jews would kill Jesus Christ, yet God did not cause them to do so. Likewise, God can foreknow what men will do
in response to His grace, whether or not they will receive “the grace of God in
vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). We believe
that the Scriptures teach that election is based upon foreknowledge. By “election”, we mean that sovereign act of
God in grace, whereby from all eternity He chose in Christ Jesus for Himself
and for salvation, all those whom He foreknew would respond positively to His
grace. Election is based upon grace and
is truly “unconditional”, in the sense that it does not rest upon human
merit. It is also based on foreknowledge
of God and not on some arbitrary will.
God foreknew what men would do in response to His grace, and He elected
those whom He foreknew would respond positively. Election is followed by foreordination (also
called predestination). This is the act
of God whereby He pre-registers, as it were, those who He has chosen.
and Church Affiliation: We
believe that true believers and the true Church are not defined by
denominational affiliations or associations.
We believe that denominations and affiliations have value as long as
they serve the mission of the Church. We
freely associate with any churches or ministry organizations with whom we have
enough agreement to cooperate in ministry.
Interpretation of the Bible:
We believe inerrancy applies to the original manuscripts of the Bible and that
any version of the Bible based on honest and solid scholarship are
valuable. We reject the belief that only
one version is the inspired Bible in the English language.
believe that the Bible does not prescribe a detailed form of church government
but rather gives us several leadership principles which we seek to
practice. We believe that there are two
“offices” in the church: Bishop (Pastor) and Deacon. The Senior Pastor is the overseer of the
ministry. He is the shepherd of God’s
flock, and is held responsible and accountable by God to oversee the
ministry. The office of Deacon is an
office of servanthood. The Deacon is to
assist the Pastor by helping serve the physical and spiritual needs of the
church, thereby allowing the Pastor to focus on the ministries of prayer and
the Word of God. We believe in a
Pastor-led, rather than a deacon-led form of church government.
Charismatic Belief: We
are not Charismatic or Pentecostal in theology or practice. Concerning our specific differences with
Charismatic or Pentecostal practices and beliefs:
We believe that the baptism of the
Holy Spirit is the placing of the new believer into the Body of Christ, not a
second work of Grace following salvation by which a person receives the Holy
Spirit. We believe a person receives the
Holy Spirit completely at salvation.
We believe the filling of the Holy
Spirit is the Christian’s allowing of the Holy Spirit to have control, not a
filling in the sense of receiving the Spirit or part of the Spirit that was not there.
We believe that the coming of the
Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a historical first and marked the birth of the
Church, the Body of Christ. We believe that it was at Pentecost that believers,
for the first time in history, received the permanent indwelling of the Holy
We believe the phenomenon of
speaking in tongues in the New Testament was the supernatural ability to speak
an unlearned, though legitimate, foreign language. It was a sign from God used during the
transitional period of time from the founding of the Church to the completion
of the written Word of God (the New Testament).
We do not believe the modern phenomenon of “speaking in tongues” fits
the New Testament description.
We believe God’s revelation is complete
in the Bible and reject the Charismatic view of on-going revelation through
tongues, or visions, or a gift of knowledge.
We believe the Holy Spirit gives on-going illumination of the meaning of
the Bible and that God gives “leading” by His Spirit and His providential
control of circumstances.
We believe God is able to do any
miracle and is able to heal anyone He chooses.
We believe in asking God for miracles and for healing. We do not believe Christians today possess
the gifts of miracles and healing.
Concerning Baptism: We believe baptism is the
prescribed method the Lord gives for new believers to express their new faith
in Him and identification with Him. We
do not believe Baptism is an automatic entry into a local church. We do not believe any denomination or
authorizing body has exclusive rights to baptism. We do not believe baptism
itself saves. We believe salvation is by
faith. We practice baptism by immersion.
Concerning Grace: We believe Christians are in a
position of God’s grace. This position
includes God’s total forgiveness of all sins and the impartation of Christ’s
righteousness to the Christian’s “official record” with God. This position includes a total reconciliation
to God where no works are required to earn God’s favor. Christians do works of righteousness because
they have God’s favor, not to earn it.
This grace also includes the active work of the Holy Spirit in the
believer to desire and do God’s will.
God will certainly discipline His children to develop their maturity and
to correct them. God’s discipline is not
a sign of God’s rejection of His children, but an indicator that He loves them.
Church: We believe
we have a responsibility to extend the “right hand of fellowship” to all
believers in the body of Christ. This
involves a love and appreciation for them as true brothers and sisters in
Christ. We do not believe any
denomination or association constitutes the official Church or churches. We believe a local church is any gathering of
Christians who meet for the purpose of being a church. We believe the local church is the planned
instrument of God to carry out the Great Commission. Therefore, we believe every believer should
join a local church and its efforts in ministry. We believe our job is to be an effective
church and to do our part to multiply new churches as God leads.
Concerning Communion: We practice “open” communion which
means we do not prevent people from taking communion with us. We “welcome” all believers to join with us in
communion and request those who are unbelievers to not partake. We believe this best honors our
responsibility to fellowship with all believers as members of the body of
Christ and allows each individual to be responsible for his or her faith and
Concerning Clergy: We believe God calls some to serve
His Church in vocational ministries of pastoring and various other
ministries. We believe the Bible teaches
that it is right and ethical for the church to financially support vocational
ministers so their needs are met and so they may focus their attention upon the
ministry. We also believe pastors are to
be given respect and honor as they are given responsibility and authority for
the spiritual well-being of the Lord’s Church.
We believe all Christians are “priests” and have direct access to God
and do not need pastors to mediate for them with God. The role of pastors is to teach, lead, and
give oversight to the church and its ministries.
Gifts: We believe
God gives spiritual gifts or divinely empowered abilities to minister in the
church. Each believer has gifts that are
to be used and strengthened. The
believer’s gifts are part of his or her calling to a life’s mission. God has a special calling on each believer’s life
to do something for others, thereby advancing the overall plan of God.
Concerning Tithing: We believe that tithing was a command to be followed by God's people Israel under the Old Testament Law. Its purpose was to support the "work" and the "workers" (priests and spiritual servants) of the Tabernacle/Temple. We do not believe that Christians live under the Old Testament Law, and as such are not bound to the Old Testament Law of tithing. Instead, Christians are to give according to the principles found in the New Testament, which reinforces that a church's spiritual leaders are to receive compensation for their labor (1 Corinthians 9:13-14, 1 Timothy 5:17-18), and this compensation should come from the financial giving of those they serve. The amount that Christians should give is to be determined by their own heart, and they should give willingly with a cheerful heart. All financial support given to God through the local church is used to support the "work" (the local church ministry) and the "workers" (the Pastors). (1 Corinthians 9, 1 Corinthians 16, 1 Corinthians 6, 2 Corinthians 8-9)