I. The Scriptures
We believe all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are inspired by God. This refers to the autographs as written by the prophets and apostles. Thus the Bible is inerrant and without mistakes in the original. We believe Scripture reveals the mind of God to man, and points to the Lord Jesus Christ and the only way of Salvation through Christ. The Scriptures are the only infallible guide for our daily thought-life as well as our practical, moral, and spiritual instruction.
II. The Interpretation of Scripture
In some ways interpretation of Scripture would not be considered doctrine, yet as it affects the way our doctrine is arrived at, it is extremely important, and so becomes an essential doctrinal issue.
Hermeneutics is the discipline of interpretation. There are indications in both Testaments as to the normative method of interpretation. Conservative, normal and literal hermeneutics takes a very tried and true approach to understanding the Bible that should include close observation of its grammatical and historical components. It would argue for but one sense or meaning for each passage of Scripture, leaving no room for a complementary or theological approach. Though taking the Word of God literally, and at face value, in classical hermeneutics there is room for poetry, figures of speech, illustrations, types, and symbols, but these literary genres do not take away from the foundational or normal interpretative understanding of Biblical truth. Normal interpretation also argues for progressive revelation, i.e., that the Holy Spirit over a period of time revealed certain truths in a progressive fashion. For example, the revelation of Jesus Christ starts in Genesis, but is not fully complete until the book of Revelation
Literal interpretation stands in opposition to allegorical interpretation. Though the Apostle Paul in Galatians creates an allegory in order to make an isolated point or illustration (4:21-26), allegory as a system is but an unacceptable philosophical approach to understanding the Word of God. It is clearly contrary to proper Biblical interpretation.
III. The Godhead
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and that these three are one God, having the precise same nature, attributes, and perfections and worthy of precisely the same honor, confidence, and obedience.
IV. God’s Grace
We believe that according to the “eternal purpose” of God (Eph. 3:11) salvation in the divine reckoning is always “by grace through faith,” and rests upon the basis of the shed blood of Christ. We believe that God has always been gracious, regardless of the dispensation, but that man has not at all times been under an administration or stewardship of grace as is true in the present dispensation of the Church.
V. The Sovereignty of God
Though God is Absolute Sovereign over all creation and history, He has a “determined plan for the whole world” and no one can alter His purposes (Isa. 14:26- 27). What He has planned that He will accomplish (Isa. 46:11). And, He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Eph. 1:11); “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand” (Isa. 14:24). Sovereignty also extends to the providence of God whereby He sustains all creatures, giving them life and removing life as He pleases (Deut. 32:39). In sovereignty, all things were created for the glory of God and all things exist for Him (Rev. 4:11). The sovereignty of God also extends to the doctrine of divine election whereby those chosen by the council of the Lord’s own will, shall come to Him in faith. And yet, even though difficult to reconcile in human understanding, the sovereignty of God does not remove the responsibility of man. He is not the author of sin. Yet in some mysterious way, His decrees include all that takes place in the universe.
VI. Angels, Fallen and Unfallen
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels; that one, “the anointed cherub” – the highest in rank – sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall, some of whom became demons and are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution of his unholy purposes, while others who fell are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment of the great day.”
VII. Man, Created and Fallen
We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, as God’s representative ‘vice-regent,’ and that he fell through sin, in consequence losing his spiritual life. As`fallen he is “dead in trespasses and sins”, and that he became subject to the reign of sin and the power of the devil. Paul adds that the lost are mentally blinded by Satan, the god of this world, and that the truth of the gospel is veiled from those who are destroying themselves (II Cor. 4:3-4). The Word of God makes it clear, there is no one who seeks after God (Rom. 3:11). So God has given mankind over to the lusts of his heart and to a depraved mind (Rom. 1:24, 28). Theologically, this darkness of mind and heart has been rightly called Total Depravity (Rom 1:28).
Following the sin of Adam, man could only produce descendants who would be sinners. Therefore all mankind is under the death sentence and penalty of sin (Rom. 5:12-18) and thus are all condemned. Only through the reconciliation of Christ, by His death, are human beings who are enemies of God being saved (Rom. 5:10). Sinners are justified by Christ’s blood, and are rescued from the wrath of God.
VIII. The Incarnation of Christ
We believe that, as provided and purposed by God and as preannounced in the prophecies of the Scriptures, the eternal Son of God came into this world that He might reconcile men to God and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of the virgin, and received a human body and a sinless human nature. We believe that in fulfillment of prophecy He came first to Israel as her Messiah- King, and, being rejected of that nation, He gave His life as a ransom for all according to the eternal counsels of God. We believe that, according to the Scriptures, He rose 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 that body which ultimately will be given to all believers.
IX. Salvation Only through Christ
We believe that, owing to spiritual death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainment in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word, is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are sons of God.
X. The Believer Complete in Christ
Though the saved one may have occasion to grow in the realization of his blessings and to know a fuller measure of divine power through the yielding of his life more fully to God, he is, as soon as he is saved, in possession of every spiritual blessing and absolutely complete in Christ (positionally speaking), and is therefore, in no way required by God to seek a so-called “second blessing,” “second work of grace,” or a “second baptism.”
XI. The Extent of Salvation
We hold that Christ’s atonement was unlimited as to its provision for fallen humanity but limited as to its application to the elect. Thus, we reject the Reformed doctrine of Limited Atonement.
XII. Lordship Salvation
We reject what is called Lordship Salvation. This teaching seems to go against the clear biblical teaching that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing can be added to His work on the cross, or to the proclamation of one’s personal faith and trust in His finished work of eternal redemption.
XIII. Eternal Security
We believe God keeps eternally all those He has elected and called to salvation and that none are lost. God will, however, chasten and correct His own in infinite love; but having undertaken to save them and keep them forever, apart from all human merit, He, who cannot fail, will in the end present every one faultless in Christ, and on His merits, before the presence of His glory and conformed to the image of His Son. We believe that saints can have eternal assurance that they are the children of God and so are eternally kept by the power of God. This assurance gives confidence and peace, helping the believer grow in spiritual and maturity.
XIV. The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, though omnipresent from all eternity, took up His abode in the world in a special sense on the day of Pentecost according to the divine promise. By His baptism He unites all to Christ in one body and indwells every believer. As the indwelling One, He is the Source of all power, all acceptable worship and service, and all spiritual gifts. We believe that the foundational spiritual gifts, such as tongues, prophecy, and knowledge, as well as the role of apostleship and the function of signs, miracles and wonders, have ceased.
XV. The Great Commission
We believe that it is the explicit command of our Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples in accordance with His Gospel, through evangelism of non-believers and instruction of believers, for the building up of the body of Christ.
XVI. The Blessed Hope
We believe that 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 also all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, and that this event is the blessed hope set before us in the Scripture, and for this we should be constantly looking.
XVII. The Apostasy of the Church
Without designating a specific time table, the Apostle Paul warns of a “falling away” from the faith (2 Tim 4:1) that will lead to a heeding of deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons (I Tim 4:2) Paul simply says it will occur in the “later times” and produce hypocrisy and a searing of the conscience. This apostasy will be religious and moral in nature (II Tim 3:1-7) and will happen prior to the rapture of the Church and before the revelation of the son of destruction, the Antichrist (II Thess. 2:1-5). Paul further teaches that the seeds of apostasy are present in the Church but they will also completely mature in the last days, which he describes as “difficult times” (II Tim. 3:1).
XVIII. The Tribulation
We believe that the rapture of the church will be followed by the fulfillment of Israel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:27; 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 times of the Gentiles” 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 (Mt. 24:15- 21). We believe that universal righteousness will not be realized previous to 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.
XIX. The Second Coming of Christ
We believe that the period of great tribulation in the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth as He went. The millennial age will follow, with Satan bound. Israel will be restored to her own land and the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled by the consummation of its three divisions – Land (Palestinian Covenant), Seed (Davidic Covenant), and Blessing (New Covenant finally brought to complete fruition). The whole world that survives will be brought to a complete knowledge of the Messiah.
XX. The Eternal State
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; but 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 into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.
We believe that the Bible presents the fact that God has not always dealt with mankind the same way in every age. According to Biblical terminology these distinct periods are called “administrations” in regard to the purpose of God or “stewardships” concerning the responsibility of man as originated from the New Testament usage of the Greek word, oikonomia. We believe that classical or traditional dispensationalism is the system that best represents the Biblical teaching on this matter. Classical or traditional dispensationalism is distinguished by a consistent literal interpretation; a clear distinction between Israel and the Church; taking into account progressive revelation; recognizing the glory of God as the ultimate purpose of God in the world
XXII. On Current Issues
We believe that corruptive influences have always been working against the Church, the body of Christ. Along with immoral forces, we reject the man-created philosophies of secular humanism, materialism, evolution, feminism, and the influences of secular psychology. While some truths may be imprinted into these and other opinion, basically, they run counter to the revealed truths of Scripture.
XXIII. Women and Ministry
We believe that in the body of Christ men and women stand spiritually equal and constitute the Church universal. We believe women have had and always will have their God-given gifts and roles within this body. Accordingly, as the primary role of believing men is to be husbands and fathers, so the primary role of women is to be wives and mothers. We encourage women to have personal ministries, but the Scriptures are clear that male leadership is called to the local church positions of deacon, elder, and pastor-teacher. No amount of debate can water down what the Bible says about the individual and distinct callings of both sexes, in regard to gifts and positions. We encourage women to pursue study but the role of pastor-teacher is Biblically reserved for men.
XXIV. Openness of God
We reject what is known as the Openness of God theory that says, in so many words, that God does not know the future. He is “open” to the free choices people make, and then responds to their free agency. This view violates the omniscience of God. It also violates the fact that in sovereignty, He has ordained all things. As difficult a doctrine as this is, it is still clearly stated in Scripture. The view of the Openness of God should be considered a heresy.
XXV. Progressive Dispensationalism
We reject the theories of Progressive Dispensationalism. The central disturbing tenet in this view is that the Lord Jesus Christ is now reigning on the throne of David in heaven. We reject the complementary hermeneutic, including the use of the “already/not yet” as an interpretive principle. We also reject the softening of progressive revelation and the forcing of a false continuity between the Testaments. The Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father presently in glory, but this is not the prophesied Davidic rule that will take place in time and history.