ARTICLES OF FAITH
"the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3
The relevance of unchanging truth
"To set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...that thou mightiest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed," we send forth the commonly believed confession of faith held among us, as follows:
I. OF THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter, and therefore is and shall remain to the end of the age the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions should be tried.
A. By "The Holy Bible" we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which as originally written does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God.
B. By "inspiration" we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired. II. Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:19-21; Acts 1:16, 28:25; Psa. 19:7-11, 119:89, 105, 130, 160; Luke 16:31, 24:25-27, 44-45; John 5:39, 45-47, 12:48, 17:17; Prov. 30:5-6; Rom. 3:6, 15:4; I Pet. 1:23; Rev. 22:19; Isa. 8:20; Eph. 6:17.
C. We believe that the original manuscripts of the Word of God are no longer in existence, but that God has supernaturally and providentially preserved His Word from the very beginning through all of time to this very moment. Psa. 12:6-7, 119:160; Isa. 59:21; Matt. 5:18, 24:35; I Pet. 1:23.
We believe that God's Word is preserved for us today in the Authorized King James Version (1611) and that it is the God-honored text of the Reformation. We believe that inspiration without preservation would be meaningless.
D. We reject all other translations and paraphrases of the Word of God, and subscribe to and use only the KJV (1611 or its equivalent) in all activities.
E. We believe the Bible to be the absolute and final rule of faith, doctrine, and practice for the believer, and that every believer must come under its authority in order to be obedient to God.
II. OF THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Ex. 15:11, 20:2-3; Gen. 17:1; I Cor. 2:10-11, 8:6, 12:4-6; Eph. 2:18, 4:6; John 4:24, 15:26, 17:5; Psa. 83:18, 90:2, 147:5; Jer. 10:10; Rev. 4:11; I Tim. 1:17; Rom. 11:33; Mark 12:30; Matt. 28:19; I John 5:7; Acts 5:3-4; Phil. 2:5-6; II Cor. 13:14.
III. OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world, He restrains the Evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of judgment and of righteousness; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. John 1:33, 3:5-6, 14:16-17, 26, 15:26-27, 16:8-11, 13; Matt. 3:11, 28:19; Heb. 9:14; Luke 1:35, 3:16, 24:29; Gen. 1:1-3; II Thes. 2:7, 13; Acts 5:30-32, 11:16; Eph. 1:13-14; Mark 1:8; Rom. 8:14, 16-27; I Pet. 1:2.
IV. OF THE DEVIL OR SATAN
We believe that Satan was once holy and enjoyed heavenly honors but, through pride and ambition to be the Almighty, fell and drew after him a host of angels; that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air and the unholy god of this world. We hold him to be man's great tempter, the enemy of God and His Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the present apostasy, the lord of the anti-Christ, and the author of all powers of darkness -- destined, however, to final defeat at the hands of God's Son and to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels. Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:14-17; Rev. 12:7-10, 13:13-14, 19:11, 16, 20, 20:1-3, 10; Jude 6; II Pet. 2;4; Eph. 2:2; John 14:30; I Thes. 3:5; Matt. 4:1-3, 13:25, 25:41, 37:39; I Pet. 5:8; Zech. 1:3; I John 2:22, 3:8, 4:3; Luke 22:3-4; II Cor. 11:13-15; Mark 13:21-22; II John 7; II Thes. 2:8-11.
V. OF CREATION
We believe in the Genesis account of creation; that it is to be accepted literally and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God's own image and after his own likeness; that man's creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God's established law was that they should bring forth only "after their kind." Gen. 1:1, 11, 24, 26-27, 2:21-23; Ex. 20:11; Acts 4:24, 17:23-26; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3; John 1:3; Rev. 10:6; Rom. 1;20; Jer. 10:12; Neh. 9:6.
VI. OF THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are sinners, not by constraint but of choice and, therefore, under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Gen. 3:1-6, 24; Rom. 1:18, 20, 28, 32, 3:10-19, 5:12, 19; Eph. 2:1, 3; Ezek. 18:19-20; Gal. 3:22.
VII. OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and is both the Son of God and God the Son. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Psa. 2:7; Gal. 4:4; I John 5:20; I Cor. 15:47.
VIII. OF THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour. Eph. 2:8; Acts 15:11, Rom. 3:24; John 3:16, 10:18; Matt. 18:11; Phil. 2:7, 8; Heb. 2:14, 7:25, 9:12-15, 12:2; Isa. 53:4-7, 11-12; Rom. 3:25; I John 2:2, 4:10; I Cor. 15:3, 20; II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:14; I Pet. 2:24, 3:18.
IX. OF GRACE IN THE NEW CREATION
We believe, that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life. John 1:12-13, 3:3, 6-8; II Cor. 5:17, 19; I John 5:1; Acts 2:41, 16:30-33; II Pet. 1:4; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1, 5:9; Col. 2:13; Gal. 5:22.
X. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe in God's electing grace; that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation. I Thes. 1:4; Col. 3:12; I Pet. 1:2; Titus 1:1; Rom. 8:29-30, 10:13; Matt. 11:28; Isa. 55:1, 6-7; Rev. 22:17; Acts 2:38; John 3:15-16, 18, 36, 5:40, 6:37; I Tim. 1:15; I Cor. 15:10; Eph. 2:4-5.
XI. OF JUSTIFICATION
We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood is His righteousness imputed unto us. Acts 13:39; Isa. 53:11; Zech. 13:1; Rom. 8:1, 5:1, 9, 1:17, 4:1-8; Tit. 3:5-7; Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38.
XII. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that repentance and faith are solemn obligations and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; thereby, being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger, and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy, at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Saviour. Acts 2:37-38, 20:21; Mark 1:15; Luke 12:8, 18:13; Rom. 10:9-11, 13; Psa. 51:1-4, 7; Isa. 55:6-7.
XIII. OF THE CHURCH
We believe that the church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its officers of ordination are pastors or elders and deacons whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission: First, to make individual disciples; Second, to build up the church; Third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded. We do not believe in the reversal of this order. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is Scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; and that on all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final. Acts 2:41-42, 6:5-6, 14:23, 15:22-23, 20:17-28; Eph. 1:22-23, 4:11, 5:23-24; I Cor. 5:11-13, 6:1-3, 11:2, 12:4, 8-11, 16:1; I Tim. 3:1-13; Matt. 28:19-20; Col. 1:18; I Pet. 5:1-4; Jude 3-4; II Cor. 8:23-24; Mal. 3:10; Lev. 27:32.
XIV. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord's supper in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ preceded always by solemn self-examination. Acts 2:41-42, 8:36-39; Matt. 3:6, 16, 28:19-20; John 3:23; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; I Cor. 11:23-28.
XV. OF PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation.John 8:29-31, 16:8; Col. 1:21, 23; I John 3:19; Matt. 6:30, 13:19-21; Rom. 8:23, 35-39; Psa. 121:3; Heb. 1:14; I Pet. 1:5; Phil. 1:6.
XVI. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and sanctified by the Spirit of God are truly righteous in his esteem; that all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and that this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and in the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. Mal. 3;18; Gen. 18:23; Rom. 1:17, 6:16-18, 23, 7:6; I Cor. 15:22; Acts 10:34-35; I John 2:29, 3:7, 5:19; Gal 3:10; Prov. 14:32; Luke 9:26, 16:25; Matt. 7:13-14, 25:34; John 8:21, 12:25.
XVII. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Lord of the conscience and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth. Rom. 13:7; II Sam. 23:3; Ex. 18:21-22; Acts 4:19-20, 5:29, 23:5; Matt. 10:28, 22:21, 23:10; Tit. 3:1; I Pet. 2:13, 14, 17; Dan. 3:17-18; Rev. 10:6; Phil. 2:10-11; Psa. 72:11.
XIII. OF THE RESURRECTION AND RETURN OF CHRIST
AND RELATED EVENTS
We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures upon these subjects at their face and full value. Of the resurrection, we believe that Christ rose bodily "the third day according to the Scriptures"; that He ascended "to the right hand of the throne of God"; that He alone is our "merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God"; "that this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" [bodily, personally, and visibly]; that the "dead in Christ shall rise first"; that the living saints "shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump"; "that the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David"; and that "Christ shall reign a thousand years in righteousness until He hath put all enemies under His feet." Matt. 24:27, 42, 25:13, 28:6-7; Luke 1:32, 24:2, 4-6, 39, 51; John 14:3, 20:27; I Cor. 15:4, 25, 42-44, 51-53; Mark 16:6, 19; Acts 1:11, 9:29-30; Rev. 3:21, 20:1-4, 6; Heb. 2:17, 5:9-10, 8:1, 6, 9:28, 12:2; I Tim. 2:5; I John 2:1; I Thes. 4:16-17; Jas. 5:8; Phil. 3:20-21; Isa. 9:6-7, 11:4-5, 32:1; Psa. 72:8.
XIX. OF MISSIONS
We believe the command to give the gospel to the world is clear and unmistakable, and this commission was given to the churches. Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Romans 10:13-15.
XX. OF THE GRACE OF GIVING
We believe Scriptural giving is one of the fundamentals of the faith. We are commanded to bring our gifts into the storehouse (common treasury of the church) upon the first day of the week. We are commanded to bring the tithe into the common treasury of the church. In the New Testament, the storehouse was the common treasury of the church. II Corinthians 8:7, I Corinthians 16:2, Matthew 23:23, Leviticus 27:30, Malachi 3:10, Acts 4:34,35,37.