The Scriptures The Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, is the written Word of God, and the supreme and sole authority of Christian faith and practice. The Scriptures were originally given through the Holy Spirit by plenary, verbal inspiration, infallibly true and free of error. No other writings, experiences, or traditions of any kind are inspired in this sense. Furthermore, since the Bible was written to be understood by all, it is to be interpreted in a straightforward literal manner; where symbols and figures of speech are used, these are made obvious from the context and are to be interpreted in a manner consistent with their use throughout the Bible. II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21; Revelation 22:18-19.
The Nature of God The only true and living God is a Triune God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, the Creator and Ruler of all things. He has been revealed to man only through the Son, the Word made flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, equally divine and eternal with the Father, and is also the Son of Man, truly human but without sin. The Holy Spirit is a person, one with the Father and Son in the Godhead, whose work it is to glorify God in Christ through convicting men of sin and regenerating those who believe on Him. Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19-20; II Corinthians 13:14; I Peter 1:2; Luke 1:37; Revelation 19:6; Psalms 147:5; Daniel 2:20-21; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; II Kings 19:15; I Chronicles 16:26; Nehemiah 9:6; Daniel 4:35; John 1:8; 1:14; 16:7-14; Titus 3:5.
The Nature of Man All things were created and are sustained by God; man in particular was created for the purpose of mutual love and fellowship between him and his creator. The Genesis account of creation is a true and historical record, revealing that man came by direct creation of God, not be a process of evolution. Though created in the image of God, man willfully sinned against God, bringing sin and death into the world. Through Adam, all men have inherited a sin-nature, upon reaching an age of accountability, this nature evidences itself in willful acts of sin. Therefore, all men are guilty sinners, under the just condemnation of a Holy God. Colossians 1:16-17; Genesis 1 & 2 & 3; Romans 5:12; 3:23; I Corinthians 15:22; John 3:18.
The Work of Christ The eternal Son became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who was born of the virgin Mary by miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a sinless human life, perfectly fulfilling the divine law, and then offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of every man. He died on the cross, shedding His precious blood,in full substitution and atonement for the sins of all men everywhere. He was buried and on the third day He arose bodily from the dead, alive forevermore. He later ascended bodily into heaven where, at the right hand of the Father, He now continually intercedes for those who put their trust in Him. John 1:1-3; 3:16; Luke 1:35; I John 3:5; 2:2; I Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:11; II Corinthians 5:19; I Corinthians 15:1-4; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:2.
Salvation Man is utterly unable to save himself from the power and penalty of sin. Each man must be saved wholly on the basis of the work Christ has done in dying for his sins and rising for his justification. This salvation is received and appropriated by simple faith in Jesus Christ as Son of God and personal Savior. A true Christian is one who has been saved or "born again," regenerated by the Holy Spirit when he truly believed in Christ. The reality of this experience, as well as one's personal assurance of salvation, will be evidenced by a genuine love for Christ and His Word and by a life characterized by Christ-like motives and standards. Salvation thus includes deliverance from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin in one's life, and ultimately from the presence of sin in heaven with Christ. Ephesians 2:1-3; 12; I Timothy 2:5; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:21; 4:1-5; John 3:3-7; 14:21; Titus 3:5; I John 3:2.
The Church In the ultimate sense, the Church of Christ is composed of all who have been saved and will be with Him in heaven. A local church, therefore, should likewise be composed only of members who are genuinely saved; trusting only in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death for their salvation. Each local church should be organized for the purpose of effective witness to the unsaved; for baptizing, teaching, exhorting and edifying those who are saved, for Christian fellowship among the brethren; and for united praise and worship of God, through song, testimony, prayer, and frequent observance of the Lord's Supper, as ordained by Christ. Ephesians 5:25; 1:22-23; 4:6; I Corinthians 12:12-13; 11:23-34; Acts 2:47; 14:23; 2:41; II Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2; Revelation 1:4; Hebrews 13:7; I Peter 5:2; Colossians 3-4.
Spiritual Gifts & the Ministry For the purposes of winning the lost and strengthening believers, the Holy Spirit bestows His spiritual gifts on members of the body according to His own will (I Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30). Initially, some of these gifts were for use as signs for confirmation of the spoken word of the disciples (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4). With the completion of the written Word of God in the New Testament Scriptures, these miraculous gifts (such as the ability to speak in other languages without having learned those languages, the power to receive and communicate divine revelations, and the ability to perform supernatural healings and other miracles) were no longer necessary and were gradually replaced (I Corinthians 13:8-10; Revelation 22:18-19) by permanently needed gifts such as those of pastoral guidance, evangelism, teaching the written Word, and others (Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-12). This does not imply that God can no longer answer prayer in miraculous ways, when in accordance with His own will, nor that He is not sovereign in the use of means for the accomplishing of His purposes. However, such occurrences are not to be considered as specific gifts or powers to be possessed by individuals, nor are they to be considered as evidences of spirituality on the part of those experiencing them, nor are they to be considered as signs supporting the testimony of believers. Therefore, seeking after such signs or other sensory experiences in the services or ministries of the church can lead only to confusion and divisions and should be avoided.
The Promised Return When the present age is consummated, Return of Christ the Lord Jesus will return to the earth to establish His millennial kingdom. It is not possible to know the date of His coming; nevertheless, every Christian should live in earnest expectation of His coming at any time. When He comes in the air, both dead and living believers will be caught up to meet Him, receiving their resurrection bodies, and will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged not for salvation, but for rewards. The coming of Christ will also be associated with a period of judgment and great tribulation on the earth, in which the wrath of God will be poured out on unsaved man because of their rejection of God and His Christ. Then, Christ will come to the earth in power and glory to reign for a thousand years. Acts 1:9-11; 15:16; Matthew 25:13; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:51-57; 3:11-15; II Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 4:1; 6-19; 19:11-20:6.
The Last Things Following the millennium, the unsaved dead will be raised, judged according to their works, and separated forever from God in the lake of fire. Satan, who is a real personality and the source of all evil in the universe, will also be consigned forever to the lake of fire. Those who are saved will live forever in the presence of Christ, enjoying the fellowship for which they were created and which was secured for them through the reconciling work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation 20:11-15; 20:10; 21-22; I Thessalonians 4:17c.
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