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What We Believe

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." - A.W. Tozer

Core Beliefs

The following are the core beliefs of Lakes Community Church based on the foundational truths taught in the bible. All of our teaching and ministry is rooted in and flows out of these biblical doctrines.

If you want to see our detailed statement of faith click here.

We believe
God created the universe with meaning and purpose.
We believe
that every person was uniquely created with a God reason for their existence.
We believe
that only God is good and ultimately will judge the world by His standard not humanity’s opinions and laws.
We believe
every one sins and falls far short of living up to God’s ways.
We believe
God sent His only son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins.
We believe
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead on the third day, and has given us the opportunity to live forever with Him.
We believe
in the power of the Holy Spirit to live for Him.
We believe
the Bible is absolute truth , that it is God’s heart to guide us and bring us closer to Him and that it is the final authority in faith and life.
We believe
that every believer is a disciple of Christ and must mature and disciple others.
We believe
that water baptism is a spiritual event and it is symbolic of a life surrendered to follow Christ.
We believe
Jesus is very real and He is coming back

Why go to Church?

We believe that it is absolutely essential that every Christ follower is connected to a local body of fellow believers.  Good christian fellowship is irreplaceable for the following eight reasons:

It is the primary place of teaching of sound doctrine so that believers will be completely and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (Titus 2:1-2, 2 Tim. 3:16)

It helps to hold believers accountable to one another so that we are not led astray by sin or false doctrine.
 (James 5:15-16, 1 Tim. 1:3-7)

It provides the place for true fellowship among believers .
(Heb. 10:24-25)
It provides a place to express your faith in Christ .
(Col. 3:12-17)
It is a true family of believers where deep and meaningful relationships are built .
(John 13:34-35, 1 John 3:16-23)
It helps to guide you into sanctification, that is, becoming more like Christ than like the world.
(1 Thes. 4:3-5; 5:23-24, John 17:17)
It confronts sin in our lives.
 (2 Tim. 2:14-26, Rom. 16:17)
It provides corporate worship and centers our focus on God.
 (Ps. 5:7, Matt. 4:10, Rev. 4:8-11)

Detailed Statement of Faith 

General Revelation
We believe God has indelibly inscribed a testimony of His glorious existence, power, and beauty in every aspect of the universe (Rom. 1:19-21). These inscriptions continually testify to the glory of God as the creator of heaven, earth, and all that is in them. Everywhere mankind looks, in small elements such as the DNA molecule of highly complex living cells, to the vast universe where countless galaxies each with trillions of stars exist, we see that all of creation clearly testifies to an all-powerful Creator. This observable testimony is called general revelation. Scripture declares that God’s general revelation reveals to every rational human that the universe and all that is contained therein has been created by God (Psa.19:1-3). Those who refuse to acknowledge an intelligent and powerful God condemn themselves by their willful refusal to respond to their Creator by faith (Rom. 1:18-23).

Special Revelation
We believe God’s primary form of communication to mankind comes through special revelation, commonly known as Scripture or the Bible. In giving us His special revelation, God used a variety of communication forms such as dreams (Gen. 28; Dan. 2, 4), visions (Zech. 1:8; Acts 10:9-22), miracles (2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:4), an audible voice from God (Gen. 3:9; Ex. 19:9-10), writing by the finger of God (Ex. 31:8; Dan. 5:5-29), prophets (1 Kin. 12:22; Luke 3:2; Heb. 1:1) and apostles (1 Thes. 2:13). The primary purpose of Scripture is the communication of God’s plan of salvation for humanity through Jesus Christ, for it is the Scriptures which testify of Him (John 5:39, Heb. 10:7).

We believe all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16). Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God breathed out every word of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:12-13). The human writers were inspired by God to write His words as they were moved along by the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, who superintended every detail of the writing process (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The human authors understood that they were writing Scripture and that God was the ultimate source of the words they were writing (1 Cor. 14:37; Gal. 1:11-12).

We believe every word and every portion of Scripture, in their original autographs, are without error in everything God affirmed as true. Inerrancy of the original autographs encompasses all topics including, but not limited to, historical accuracy (Gen. 1-11, Dan. 11), scientific accuracy (Job 26:7), theological accuracy (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 8; Eph. 2:8-9), and even the proper citation of false statements given by humans and fallen angelic beings (Gen. 3:1-4). We believe Scripture inherently reflects the character of God who cannot lie. Scripture is therefore perfect and inerrant just as God Himself is perfect (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:17-18).

Sufficiency of Scripture
We believe Scripture is sufficient to supply God’s wisdom on every subject He chose to include in His holy word. Scripture testifies of the glory of God and clearly reveals His plan of salvation so that all humanity is without excuse if they reject His offer of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 3:15-17; John 20:30-31). Everything humanity needs to know about God’s will for mankind and creation is provided for us in Scripture. No other book or human insight is necessary to understand God’s truth and His plan of salvation (Rev. 22:18-19).

Authority of Scripture
We believe Scripture is the absolute standard of faith, conduct and practice for individual believers and for the proper functioning of the church. The words of Scripture are God-breathed, possess divine authority (Heb. 4:12-13), and stand supreme, far above every human authority or truth claim that denies any fact presented in Scripture (Acts 5:28-32).

Canon of Scripture
We believe the divinely inspired thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament constitute the full and complete canon of Scripture as reflected in the Protestant Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We believe the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament were written by a prophet of God before 400 B.C., and that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament were written by an Apostle or an associate of an Apostle before 100 A.D. (1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thes. 2:13). We further believe the canon of Scripture is now closed and that no additional words or written works should ever be considered Scripture until Christ Himself returns in the last days.

Method of Interpreting Scripture
We believe all interpretation of Scripture is to be based on the grammatical construction of the original language of the text, along with the cultural-historical background in which each book was written. All Scripture must be faithfully interpreted by the reader using established hermeneutical principles, but the only infallible interpretation of Scripture is when Scripture interprets itself (Dan. 2:36). Human interpretation of God’s words by pastors, teachers, or scholars should never be elevated to the same level of authority as Scripture itself.

Illumination of Scripture
We believe the truth of Scripture is properly illuminated only by God Himself as the true author. The Holy Spirit is the Helper and Teacher of believers by illuminating the proper meaning that God has intended in His Word. However, fallible and limited human beings will only properly understand the truth of Scripture by submitting completely to the Holy Spirit as their divine Helper and Teacher (John 14:25-26; 16:12-14).

The Nature of God:
Attributes of God
We believe God is personal (Exo. 3:14; Mat. 18:20), volitional (Rom. 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:17), self-existent (John 5:26) and self-aware (Exo. 3:14; Isa. 44:6). He is exclusively and entirely divine; He is both immanently present in every facet of the universe He created (Psa. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24), and also transcendent of the universe. Transcendence means that the universe God created cannot contain Him; He exists separate from and outside of the universe while still being able to directly interact with every aspect of the universe as God. Scripture confirms that God is wholly and distinctly separate from all constraints of the material and immaterial universe (Gen. 1:1; 1 Kin. 8:27; Col. 1:17). Since God is unbound by the universe and the laws of nature He created, He is able to perform miracles, signs and wonders which defy human logic, reason or a materialistic of scientific explanation when He performs such miracles.  

We believe God possesses certain attributes which are without parallel in the created world. God is eternal, having neither beginning nor end. He is unbound by the physical nature of time (Psa. 90:2; Isa. 57:15; 2 Tim. 1:9). God is immense, unbound by all physical or spatial limitations (1 Kin. 8:27; Col. 1:17). God is immutable and He does not change (Psa. 102:27; Jam. 1:17; Heb. 13:8). God uniquely possesses these special incommunicable attributes which are not shared by any part of His creation.

We further believe that God possesses communicable attributes which He has chosen to share, in part, with the creatures He has created. These communicable attributes include God being relational as One who gives and receives love (John 17:24; Psa. 136:1; John 3:16); God is all-knowing and is the fullness of both wisdom (Eph. 3:10-11) and knowledge (Psa. 147:4-5; Rom. 11:33; Heb. 4:13); God is sovereign (Psa. 103:9; 1 Tim. 6:15) and all-powerful (Psa. 115:3; Jer. 32:17); He is able to do all things that do not constitute a logical impossibility for Him, such as contradicting His own moral nature (Heb. 6:18, Mat. 23:37); God is holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8); He is entirely separate and distinct from the created world (John 1:18); God is absolutely pure (Lev. 11:44) and perfectly righteous (1 John 3:7; Psa. 45:7); He administers flawless justice (Dan. 9:14; 2 Tim. 4:8); God is full of majesty (Psa. 104:1); beauty (Psa. 27:4) and is Himself, pure light (Rev. 21:23). While human beings and angels cannot fully manifest these divine attributes, God has shared the limited expression of these communicable attributes with the beings He created.

We believe God is one unity of divine essence (Deut. 6:4), existing as three eternally distinct Persons: Father (John 6:27), Son (John 8:58; 17:5), and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Each Person of the Triune Godhead is self-existent, of the same essence, and equal in power and glory (John 1:1; Mat. 28:19-20). Collectively, the members of the Godhead have enjoyed a perfect unity, love, and communion with one another throughout eternity (John 17:20-23).

The Work of God:
God’s Sovereign Plan
We believe God has decreed from the foundation of the world that He would be glorified by everything He created (Num. 14:21; Rom. 14:11); He alone possesses the right to command glory and has the power and authority to ensure He will receive it. Some human beings will glorify Him voluntarily as a result of faith in His free gift of salvation (Eph. 3:14; Psa. 95:6; Dan. 6:10); others created beings, including unsaved mankind and demons, will give God glory involuntarily when they stand before Him in the final judgment (Mark 5:6; Rev. 20:11-15). God’s sovereign purpose is even accomplished by or despite those who directly oppose Him by their ungodly and wicked deeds (Gen. 45:3-8; Psa. 33:10-12).

The Existence of Evil
We believe that while evil clearly exists in our fallen world, God is not the author or initiator of evil (Jam. 1:13). God Himself declared creation to be “very good” at the conclusion of His creative work (Gen. 1:31). Although good, the potential for sinful disobedience and a perversion of God’s good intention was present among the free moral agents He created (Gen. 3:1-8). God has promised to bring an end to evil and sin at the time of the end of this age (Dan. 9:24; Rev. 21:3-22:5), but He allows wickedness to continue in order to accomplish His perfect plan of salvation by faith through His grace, His mercy, and His longsuffering with sin until Jesus Christ returns in His final act of judgment of this world (2 Pet. 3:1-9).

God’s Providence
We believe God continually preserves His creation (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3) and that He is uncompromisingly guiding it to accomplish His will (Dan. 2:37-45; 7:1-27). God’s providence is evidenced by miracles (Acts 2:22; Heb. 2:4) and in His response to prayer (Dan. 10:12; Jam. 5:16). While providence is a miraculous work of God, it does not require Him to suspend the physical laws of the universe to accomplish His will as a true miracle. We further believe God demonstrates His divine power and wisdom by working miracles that cannot be understood or explained by the natural causes or forces He established at the beginning of creation or subsequent to the fall of mankind (Matt. 14:25).

God’s Creative Work
We believe God is the creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1) and that nothing exists in the universe apart from His creative work (John 1:3). Each member of the Trinity was present and active in the creation of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:2; Isa. 40:12-13; Col. 1:16-17).

We believe that Adam and Eve were directly and uniquely created by God precisely as recorded in the Scriptural account of creation history (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:7, 22). In addition to affirming God’s act of special, divine creation, we also believe that these two people were unique among all living creatures as they were exclusively made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Although fallen and corrupted by sin, their original sin, mankind continues to bear witness that we are all uniquely made in the image of God (Jam. 3:9).

We believe that God designed certain attributes of humanity to reflect His holy character (Lev. 11:45, 20:7, Eph. 1:14); He has created mankind with the capacity to reason (Isa. 1:18), to communicate abstract thoughts (John 3:14; Heb. 4:1-11; 8:5), to make moral choices (Psa. 25:12, 78:67), and to glorify God (Num. 14:20-24; Jos. 7:19; Jer. 13:16; Acts 12:23; Rev. 14:7, 16:9). Thus, in bearing the image of God, mankind has been endowed with the highest degree of worth in all of creation (Psa. 8:3-8; Gen. 9:6). This worth finds its true purpose in God’s declaration for them to have authority and dominion over creation (Gen. 1:26; Psa. 8:6-8; Heb. 2:7,8).

We believe each human being has been made constitutionally as part mortal and part immortal. The mortal part of mankind is represented by the visible and material body which survives only until death (Psa. 6:5). When death occurs, the immortal parts are separated from the mortal (Gen. 35:18; 1 Cor. 15:44-58; 2 Cor. 5:6-8). The immortal and invisible part of the human constitution are represented by the human soul and the human spirit (1 Thes. 5.23). Although we believe there is an important distinction between the nature and purpose of the soul and the spirit, Scripture declares that God has not provided humans with the ability to understand the distinction between the two immortal parts except as revealed by the power of His Word (Heb. 4:12).

We believe that the origin of the immortal aspect of the human constitution is generated for each individual, at least in part, by God directly (Ecc. 12:7; Jer. 38:16; Zec. 12:1; John 3:6; Heb. 12:9). This generation of new immortal life occurs simultaneously with the beginning of the material or mortal life at the moment of fertilization of the female egg by the male sperm. We believe a new image of God-bearing life is created at fertilization whereby a new and entirely unique DNA sequence is formed from the chromosomes contributed by each of the parents’ cells. Both the mother and father carrying half of the genetic material needed; once the two parts are joined at fertilization a new life, made in the image of God, has begun (Gen. 9:4-6; Lev. 17:11,14).

Beginning of life and abortion
We believe abortion is the unjustified termination of an innocent life that has already begun to develop in the womb (Gen. 25:23, Ps. 22:10, Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:44). Taking innocent life is defined as murder, and we believe that the act of abortion is an act of murder in the eyes of God and man (Gen 9:6; Ex. 20:13). We also believe God is fully able to forgive, by His abundant grace and mercy, anyone who has participated in the termination of a human life in the womb. God’s forgiveness is fully available to anyone if they seek Him by faith and repent of their sins, including abortion.

We further believe this prohibition against the terminating of an unborn life includes all medical or pharmaceutical treatments which cause the death of an unborn child. Any such procedure or chemical that may be used to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, or the subsequent termination removal of the developing and growing tissue of an unborn life at any and all stages of the gestation period or process, is a sin. However, procedures and medical intervention that deal with the loss of a developing embryo or fetus who has died in the womb should not be considered as an abortion but as a necessary procedure to deal with a death that has already occurred in the womb.
Marriage and biblical sexuality

We believe that God instituted marriage as a sacred ordinance; God alone defines what constitutes a marriage and offers His blessings only when a man and a women are united together as husband and wife according to God’s perfect standard. Therefore, we believe that marriage is only possible between someone born biologically/genetically as a man and someone else who was born biologically/genetically as a woman (Gen. 2:24). We further believe God intends marriage to be a permanent, life-long union where only death should separate the husband and the wife from marriage (Rom. 7:1-3).

We also believe that while God’s intended design for marriage is a lifelong commitment, there are circumstances that God permitted divorce in both the Old and New Testaments (Deu. 24:1-4; Mat. 19:9). We believe Christians should be cautioned and counseled to not pursue or even consider divorce unless they have a clear biblical reason for doing so. Furthermore, having a biblical reason for divorce, such as adultery or abuse by a spouse, does not mean that divorce is necessarily God’s will for the couple. Counseling and receiving godly wisdom from spiritual leaders in the church should always be pursued before any decision in favor of divorce is made. Each situation is unique this statement of believes cannot cover all situations that may come up and should not be interpreted as doing so.

We believe that single, married, and divorced believers all have a place in the church. Those who have been divorced are not automatically disqualified from membership or leadership in the church. If a divorced person has demonstrated biblical reasons for divorce, is the innocent party who did not seek a divorce or has shown genuine repentance and a present-day desire to live for God by faith, then such a person is welcomed into the fellowship of believers and is not disqualified from church leadership because other marital history alone.

We believe that sexual intercourse was designed and blessed by God within the marriage relationship only. That is, a married couple (one man and one woman) should fulfill their marital roles for sexuality as God designed and equipped them to do (1 Cor. 7:3-5). Procreation is one purpose for sex in marriage, but it is not the only reason that married couples should engage in sexual relations as part of the health of their marriage bonds.

We reject any teaching or claim which condones or endorses sexual activity of any kind between those who are not in a biblically defined marriage between a man and a woman. Extramarital sexual relationships between heterosexual partners are referred to as fornication and sin (1 Cor. 6:9). Likewise, sexual relations between those of the same gender is called homosexuality and is a sin and is further called an abomination before God (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).

We believe angels, also referred to as the heavenly host (1 Kin. 22:19; Neh. 9:6; Acts 7:42), were created by God (Psa. 148:2, 5; Heb. 1:7) as immortal beings (Luke 20:36; Heb. 12:22) prior to the creation of the humanity (Job 38:4-7). The angelic host are superior to human beings (Heb. 2:7) in intelligence (2 Sam. 14:20) and in strength (2 Pet. 2:11; 2 Kin. 19:35) but are also limited in all of these areas because they are not divine and are not equal with God who created them (Psa. 103:20).
We believe angels now exist in two diametrically opposed classifications: (1) un-fallen, the holy angels who continue to serve and obey God, and (2) fallen, the angelic beings who have sinned against God. The fallen angels were once holy (Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4) but turned from God at an undefined moment in the realm of timeless eternity (Rev. 12:4; Luke 10:18). Some of these fallen angels have been bound in chains for their sins until the time of the future judgment (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). Other fallen angels remain loose and roam the earth to oppose God and humanity (Gen. 3:1-6; Job 1-2; Mat. 22-29). We believe all fallen angels, including Satan, function under the broad authority of God and are held accountable to Him (Job 1-2, Mat. 8:29).  In the demonic realm, however, all fallen angels are under Satan’s direct authority (Mat. 12:26; Rev. 9:11).

We believe that sin entered the visible world through the first man, Adam, as recorded in Genesis 3:1-7. God created Adam and Eve sinless (Gen. 1:31-2:3, 2:25), yet Adam and Eve were also capable of disobeying God by exercising their own free moral choice to obey or disobey God. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve existed without sin and were therefore under no penalty for sin. However, when Adam sinned, he subjected the entire human race to the curse of sin and death (Rom. 3:23, 5:12; Ecc. 7:20; 1 John 1:8-10).

Jesus Christ
We believe Jesus Christ is the pre-existent Son who eternally occupies His place as the Second Person of the Triune Godhead (John 8:58; Heb. 1:12). We further believe that the Son is of the same divine essence as the Father (John 10:30-33; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3), and that all created things were brought into existence through the work of His hands (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2, 10).

We believe the Jesus elected to permanently unite His divine nature to a physical human body by a hypostatic union in order to accomplish salvation for mankind (Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9). Though joined to a human nature through the virgin birth, Jesus forever maintains the fullness of His deity as the Second Person of the trinity (Col. 2:9). Jesus Christ’s divinity is fully affirmed in Scripture even when He was fully man living on the earth approximately 2.,000 years ago:
He permitted others to worship Him (Mat. 14:33; Heb. 1:6).
He offered divine forgiveness of sins on His own authority (Mark 2:5).
He proclaimed to be the Judge of all nations and people (Mat. 25:31-32; 1 Tim. 4:1).
He knew human thoughts confirmed by those who He revealed them to (Luke 5:22; John 2:24).
He declared the divine ability to be present everywhere (Mat. 18:20, 28:20).
However, the Son limited the independent exercise of some of His divine attributes during His earthly life further confirming His full human nature in addition to His divine nature (Mark 13:32; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb 2:9-18).

We believe Jesus, the Son of God, became fully human (1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 2:22). The extent of Christ’s human nature is evidenced by the fact that:
He was born of a woman (Luke 2:7, 11; Gal. 4:4).
He had a physical body (John 1:14; Luke 24:38-39; 1 John 1:1).
He was both hungry and thirsty (Mat 4:2; John 19:28).
He became weary (John 4:6) and had human emotions (Mat. 26:37; John 11:35).
He was spiritually dependent on the Father (John 5:19,30) and privately prayed to Him (Luke 6:12-13; Mat. 26:39,42; Heb. 5:7-8).
Most of all, His public crucifixion and burial demonstrated that Jesus actually suffered death in His fully human condition (Mark 15:37-46; John 19:30-42).
We believe that Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect, sinless obedience to the Father (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22) and entered the world free of the original sin genetically passed on to all other humans by Adam. This freedom from Adam’s original sin was only possible by the virgin conception of Mary provided by the Holy Spirit (Gen. 3:6; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 John 3:5). No ordinary man, conceived by normal human conception could have been free from the original sin and thus could not have been a perfect and sinless sacrifice on behalf of all mankind.

While Jesus did experience true temptation (Heb. 2:18; 4:15), He did not commit sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus not only permitted His enemies to deliver Him to be crucified by the Roman authorities, but He also intentionally made sure it was done at the time and place He determined (Mat. 16:21-23; Luke 24:25-26) By going to the cross Jesus became the once-for-all, perfect and sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 10:12). This perfect sacrifice forgiveness of sins possible for all who receive God’s gift of grace through Faith in Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:22; Eph. 2:8).

We believe Jesus’ voluntary sacrifice further made possible His service as the true High Priest of God (Heb. 2:17; 8:1). Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:6-13) which He established to take away human sin through His substitutionary sacrifice, and to provide salvation for all who receive Him by faith (1 Pet. 1:3-10). The sacrifice of Christ was vicarious as He substituted His perfect innocence for the sin and guilt of humanity in order to impute His righteousness to them (Rom. 4:5; Phil. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:21). In this way Jesus became the only source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Heb. 5:9). We further believe God’s free gift of salvation, purchased by Christ’s blood, has been made universally available to all humanity (1 John 2:2; 2 Pet. 2:1, 3:9). Although universal in scope, the atonement is only available and efficaciously applied to those who place their faith in Jesus for salvation (John 3:18, 36; 1 John 5:10-12).

We believe election is a mysterious work of God whereby He accomplishes His plan through human agents, especially as it relates to salvation. At times, God even chooses, or elects, certain individuals to accomplish His will despite the evil condition of their hearts (Isa. 44:8; 45:1; John 6:70). The term “elect of God,” however, is principally a reference to those whom God has chosen to receive His special blessings, such as Israel under the Old Covenant (1 Chr. 16:13; Isa. 41:8; Rom. 11:28) and believers under the New Covenant (Rom. 8:33; Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12).

The Gospel Call
We believe God uses the truth of the gospel message (John 8:32; 2 Thes. 2:14), the ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), faithful Christians (Mat. 28:19), and the general witness of creation (Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:19) to draw unbelievers to receive truth of Christ and His gift of salvation through faith (John 6:44). God has given every believer, and especially preachers/teacher, the tremendous responsibility of communicating the message of Jesus Christ with the world in order to draw all humanity to Jesus through this gospel call of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:14; John 12:32).

We believe conversion occurs when a person responds to the gospel call with a free will confession of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 2:21, 38-41). This confession of faith must also be accompanied by a genuine desire to repent from sins and to make Jesus Lord of their life (Acts 2:38; 3:19). Although the length of time between the two events is imperceptible, conversion clearly precedes regeneration in the life of a believer (Acts 2:38; Eph. 1:13).

We believe regeneration is entirely an action of God in which He brings new spiritual life at the time of conversion. The New Testament refers to this as being “born again” into the new, eternal life provided by God to those who believe (John 3:3-16; 1 Pet. 1:23). Regeneration transfers believers from the state of being dead in trespasses and sin into the state of being eternally alive together with Christ through faith (Eph. 2:1-8). Regeneration prepares believers to be the spiritual temple of God and to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 6:19).

We believe that God justifies those who believe in Jesus Christ based on faith alone rather than on any good deed or obedience to the Old Testament law (Rom. 3:26-28; 5:1; Gal. 2:16). Justification is a legal declaration of God stating that a person’s sins have been forgiven and that, by faith, he has been credited with Christ’s righteousness instead of his own (Rom. 4:5). This is only accomplished and available based on faith in Jesus Christ and without faith no person can be saved (Rom. 10:9-10).

We believe that God adopts believers into His divine family as sons and daughters. Adoption occurs, along with regeneration and justification, immediately following conversion (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:23-26). The privileges of adoption include the right to call God “Father,” (Mat. 6:9; Rom. 8:15), becoming a fellow heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:17), receiving God’s personal love as though we are His own precious child (1 John 3:1), and receiving the loving fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ who have likewise been adopted into God’s family (1 John 3:14; 4:20).

We believe sanctification is a process of changing a person’s inner character and outward deeds to become continually more conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. This process begins at conversion (Rom. 6:17-19), advances throughout the Christian life (Rom. 6:12-13; 2 Cor. 3:18; Heb. 12:1, 14), and is only fully realized when we meet Christ in heaven (1 Cor. 15:23, 49). We further believe that sanctification is a cooperative work of God (1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 12:5-11) and the believer, who must submit to God’s will in order for sanctification to progress (Rom. 6:13, 19; Phil. 2:12-13).

Remaining a Christian
We believe God alone has accomplished every aspect of human salvation, including providing the faith necessary for each person to believe in and confess Jesus Christ as Lord (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 12:3). However, the right to choose the salvation God offers, or to reject it, is made by each human being by their free will (Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 1:13). We further believe that since God leaves the decision of faith up to each individual, salvation is only certain for all who continue in faith throughout their life (Rom. 8:31-39; Heb. 13:6). Apostasy, or the intentional denial of Jesus Christ after making a confession of faith, is a real possibility that a believer can choose after making a genuine confession of faith. The consequences for an apostate is that they will be denied eternal life with God and will face Him before the Great White Throne at the last day along with all others who have not been included in the Lamb’s Book of Life which is restricted to those who believe in Jesus Christ for their personal salvation (Heb. 2:1-2, 3:12, 4:1, 4:11, 6:6, 10:29-31, 10:38; Rev. 20:111-15).

Death and the Intermediate Sate
We believe death is a natural outcome for all who live in an unregenerated, fallen world (Gen. 3:19; Psa. 89:48). Believers are fully sanctified at death and given the crown of life (Rom. 8:17; Rev. 2:10).  The souls of believers go immediately into the presence of God (2 Cor. 5:8), and the souls of all unbelievers go immediately into the abyss where they await a final resurrection, judgment and eternal punishment for their sins (Rev. 20:11-15, Mat. 25:41, 46; Rom. 10:7). No decision can be made once a person dies, their eternal destiny is determined before they die, not after (Dan. 12:1-2, Heb. 9:27-28).

We believe that glorification is the final stage of a believer’s journey to live eternally with God (Rom. 8:11; Phil. 3:20). This final stage will occur when Christ returns. At that time believers who have died will be raised to live in glorified bodies with Christ (1 Cor. 15:22-23; 1 Thes. 4:14).  Those believers who are alive when He comes for them will be instantly transformed into their glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-52). The resurrection body will be raised imperishable in God’s glory and power (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 49). Saints glorified by Christ will ultimately live on a regenerated earth. The new earth, established by God in righteousness, will not be subjected to sin and the destructive conditions which began at the fall. The final New Heavens and New Earth will be populated only by redeemed believers, unfallen angels, and God Himself (Rom. 8:19, 22-23, Rev. 21-22).

The Church:
Nature and Purpose of the Church 
We believe the church is the full community of all believers in God’s revealed plan of salvation since the foundation of the world (Acts 7:38; Eph. 1:22-23). The church is defined by all those who Christ died to save and all who receive God’s plan of salvation by faith (Heb. 11:1, 6; 12:1, 23). Therefore, the church is represented by both present-day living believers who are visible on earth (Acts 11:26; Eph. 3:10), and those who have died but are registered in heaven to be granted eternal life in Christ when the first resurrection occurs (Heb. 12:23; Rev. 20:6). We do not believe church attendance defines the body of Christ (the church), for there are many unbelievers who come to church, but they do so without having received Christ by faith in their hearts. Such may be believers of the general fellowship, but are not the church or the body of Christ as defined by Scripture.

Power of the Church
We believe God has given the church authority and responsibility to conduct spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:3-4; Eph. 6:10-18), to proclaim the gospel to the world (Mat. 28:19; Acts 1:8), and to exercise church discipline upon its members (Mat. 18:15-18). The purpose of church discipline is to restore the one who has sinned to proper Christian conduct (Gal. 6:1; Jam. 5:20), and to bring about reconciliation between individual believers and between each believer and God (Mat. 18:15, 19-20). The proper use of church discipline helps to prevent sin from spreading among other believers in the body of Christ (Heb. 12:15; 1 Cor. 5:2-7).

Officers and Government of the Church
The primary leadership and ministry offices in the church are to be performed by the elders of a local church. These elders are to be appointed (Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5) or recognized by the assembly as the leaders of the church (Jam. 5:14; 1 Pet. 5:1-2). Elders must meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:2-7, and therefore, the office of elder must be held only by men (1 Tim. 2:11-14; 3:1-5).

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe in a baptism by immersion (Mark 1:5, 10; Acts 8:36-39) for confessing believers only (Acts 2:41; 16:14-15; Gal. 3:27). Baptism is commanded by the Lord, and it is to be viewed as a public acknowledgement of a believer placing his faith in Christ alone (Mat. 28:19).
We believe the Lord’s Supper is both a celebration and a sobering reminder of the redeeming sacrifice Christ made by enduring the shame and punishment of the cross (Mat. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:25). Communion reminds believers of Christ’s death, serves to connect believers spiritually to Christ (John 6:53-57), encourages unity in the church (1 Cor. 11:27-28), and allows believers to regularly reaffirm their faith in Christ until He returns (1 Cor. 11:26). We further believe the elements of the Lord’s Supper are to be fruit from the vine and a bread product, both of which serve only as symbols of Christ’s blood and His body (1 Cor. 11:24-25). These elements remain in their original fruit and bread substances throughout the celebratory observance.

We believe worship is an important activity that allows believers to express their heart of gratitude for God and to give Him the glory, honor and praise He is rightly due (Rev. 4:1; 5:8-10). As a result, worshipers should delight in God’s perfect attributes (Psa. 16:11; 84:1-2, 4, 10), spiritually draw near to Him, knowing that God (Heb. 10:22) desires to draw near to believers who seek Him (Jam. 4:8).

The Last Things:
The Second Coming of Christ
We believe Jesus Christ will visibly return to judge and wage war against the enemies of God at the end of the Great Tribulation (Mat. 24:29-31; Acts 1:11; Rev. 19:11-21). This is a three-and-a-half-year event (Dan. 7:25; 9:24, 27; Rev. 13:5) which concludes the present final age before the millennium (Mat. 24:3; Heb. 9:26-28). Although the event is certain, it is not possible to know the precise timing of Christ’s return (Mat. 25:13). Believers are instructed to wait expectantly for Christ who could return for His saints at any moment (1 Thes. 5:2).
Christ’s return to the earth for judgment will be preceded by many signs. These include preaching the gospel to all nations (Mark 13:10), the Abomination of Desolation (Dan. 11:31; Mat. 24:15), false prophets using deceptive signs and wonders (Mark 13:22), various cosmic disturbances (Mat. 24:29), and the revealing of the Man of Sin to the world (2 Thes. 2:1-10).

The Millennium
We believe there will be a one thousand year reign of Christ on the earth following His return, but prior to the time of the final judgment of unbelievers (Rev. 20:4, 6, 11-15). Satan will be bound in chains and cast into the bottomless pit at the beginning of this period and will remain there until the thousand years are completed.

The Future of Ethnic Israel
We believe that while God’s covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai was conditional and revocable (Ex. 24:3, 7; Lev. 26:14-39; Heb. 8:13), His covenant with Abraham was unconditional and irrevocable (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:12-20; Rom. 11:29). Ethnic Israel, therefore, will benefit from God’s promise of blessing and redemption in a way that is unique among all other ethnicities in God’s kingdom. Scripture teaches that God will orchestrate the events of the Great Tribulation in order to bring Israel to the point where the nation will acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah (Hos. 5:10-6:3; Zec. 12:10-11; 13:7-9). When Israel nationally acknowledges Jesus as their Messiah, He will then fight for Israel against her enemies (Zec. 14:3-21; Eze. 38:18-39:20). All the land God promised Abraham will be given to Israel at this time (Gen. 15:18-20; Eze. 39:21-29). In the early stages of the Tribulation God will place a special protection on 144,000 thousand descendants of Israel, twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes, except for Dan (Rev. 7:1-8). God’s revealed plan is to regraft faithful Israel back into their own olive branch (Christ) from which they were cut off because of their rejection of Him at in the first coming (Rom. 11:23-32).

The Final Judgment
We believe Jesus (2 Tim. 4:1) will judge and eternally punish those who have rebelled against God throughout all human history (Mat. 25:41; Rev. 20:14). Only those who have been redeemed by faith in the blood sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 3:24-26) will escape this judgment. Those who do not receive Christ by faith will be cast into the lake of fire which God prepared for Satan and the angels who rebelled with him (Mat. 25:41). Prior to being cast into the lake of fire, each person whose name is not written in the book of life will be judged according to his or her deeds rather than on the atoning work of Christ (Rev. 20:11-15). Fallen angels and Satan, who have no hope of redemption (Heb. 2:16), will likewise be judged and cast into the lake of fire for the remainder of their eternal existence.
We believe that Jesus will separately judge believers for their deeds (Rom. 14:10, 12; 2 Cor. 5:10). This judgment will burn up all unrighteous deeds done by believers (1 Cor. 3:15) and will reward deeds done in and for Christ (1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:10). This judgment of believers does not change their salvation status or eligibility for eternal life as it only focuses on deeds and rewards for believers.  

We believe in the literal existence of hell, which is a place of conscious eternal punishment for all who rebel against God (Mat. 25:46; Rev. 14:9-11). All those who are judged and cast into hell will be fully aware of their existence, torment, and eternal separation from the life-giving and life-sustaining God they rejected. This is the Second Death that all unbelievers will experience, and all unbelievers are cautioned to escape this punishment by placing their faith in Jesus Christ alone while they still are able to do so in this life (Rev. 21:8).

We believe that, prior to the return of Christ, the souls of believers who die go immediately into the presence of God where He dwells in heaven (Luke 23:43; 1 Cor. 5:3). After the final judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), God will establish a new heaven and a new earth where God Himself will dwell (Rev. 21:1-7). Glorified believers will dwell with the God of all glory for the remainder of eternity (Rev. 21:1-3; 22:3). Heaven is also a place of eternal life and indescribable joy, satisfaction, love and purpose, all of which are too wonderful to fully comprehend by finite humans living on this side of eternity.

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