The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and present Lord.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, conversion, justification, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a secret act of God in which He imparts new spiritual life to us. It is a work of God’s grace whereby we who believe become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which we sinners respond in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Conversion is our response to the gospel, in which we repent of sin and place faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and follow Jesus in obedience. Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for new and eternal life with Jesus.
C. Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which He (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight. God does this for all who repent and believe in Jesus. Justification brings us unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
D. Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Jesus as we follow Him in our actual lives. It is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which we are set apart to God’s purposes, and are enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
E. Glorification is the final step in salvation. It will happen when Jesus returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, and reunites them with their spirits, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like His own.
Election is the gracious purpose and act of God, according to which He calls, regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies some, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but by His pleasure in the merits of Jesus. It is consistent with man’s responsibility of choice, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
Perseverance is the gracious purpose and act of God, according to which by His power, we whom God has called, regenerated, justified, and is sanctifying, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere unto the end of our lives. We may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby we grieve the Spirit, impair our graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal discipline on ourselves; yet we shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. All true believers persevere until the end.
A New Testament church is an autonomous, local congregation of regenerated and baptized believers who confess Jesus as Lord in response to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership; gather regularly for worship through song, the preaching of the Scriptures, and the ordinances of believer’s baptism and Communion; are unified by the Spirit; are disciplined for holiness; and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy. Its scriptural offices are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service and serve in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
Believer’s baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church partnership.
Communion (or the Lord’s Supper) is a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of Jesus and anticipate His second coming. It is for believers only.
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of Jesus’ cause on earth.