“…To set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us…That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1,4), we send forth the commonly believed confession of faith held among us, as follows:
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 and opinions should be tried.
(Psalm 19:7-11; 119; Proverbs 30:5,6; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 24:25-27,44-45; John 5:39-47; 12:48; 17:17; Romans 3:4; 15:4; Ephesians 6:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 1:23; II Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 22:19)
1. By “Holy Bible” we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but IS the very Word of God. We believe that the 1611 Authorized Version is the preserved, inerrant Word of God for English speaking people.
2. By “inspiration” we mean 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
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.
(Genesis 1:1; 17:1; Ex. 15:11; 20:2-3; Ps. 83:18; 90:2; 147:5; Matt. 28:19; Mk. 12:30; Jn. 4:24; 10:30; 15:26; Acts. 5:3-4; I Cor. 2:10-11; 8:6; 12:4-6; II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18; 4:6; Phil. 2:5-6; I Tim. 1:17; I Jn. 5:7; Rev. 4:11)
Of the Holy Ghost
We believe 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 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.
(Genesis 1:1-3; Matt. 3:11; 28:19; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 1:35; 3:16; 24:49; Jn. 1:33; 3:5-6; 14:16,17,26; 15:26-27; 16:8-11,13; Acts 5:30-32; 11:16; Rom. 8:14-16,26-27; Eph. 1:13-14; II Thess. 2:13; Heb. 9:14; I Pet. 1:2)
Of the Devil or Satan
We believe that Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as 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 the Triune God, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power behind the present apostasy; the lord of the Antichrist; and the author of all the powers of darkness-destined, however, to be finally defeated at the hand of God’s Son, and to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.
(Is. 14:12-15; Ez. 28:14-17; Matt. 4:1-3; 25.41; Lk. 22:3-4; Jn. 14:30; II Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 2:2; I Thess. 3:5; II Thess. 2:8-11; II Pet. 2:4; I Jn. 2:22; 3:8; 4:3; II Jn. 7; Jude 6; Rev. 12:7-10; 13:13-14; 20:1-3,10)
Of the Creation
We believe the Genesis account of creation, and 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 changes 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–they should bring forth only “after their own kind.”
(Genesis 1:1; 1:26,27; 2:21-23; Ex. 20:11; Neh. 9:6; Jer. 10:12; Jn. 1:1-3; Acts 4:24; 17:23-26; Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 10:6)
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 now sinners, not by constraint, but of choice; and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse.
(Genesis 3:1-6,24; Ez. 18:19-20; Rom. 1:18,20,28; 3:10-19; 5:12,19; Gal. 3:22; Eph. 2:1-3)
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 a woman, and that He was born the Son of God and God the Son.
(Genesis 3:15; Ps. 2:7; Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:35; Jn. 1:14; Gal. 4:4)
Of the Atonement for Sin
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial office 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 atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but as 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 His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection. He is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour.
(Matt. 18:11; Jn. 3:16; 10:18; Acts 15:11; Rom 3:24,25; I Cor. 15:3,20; II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 2:7,8; Heb. 2:14, 7:25, 9:12-15; 12:2; I Pet. 2:24; 3:18; I Jn. 2:2; 4:10)
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 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 the repentance and faith in the newness of life.
(Jn. 3:3,6,7; Acts. 2:41; 16:30,31; Rom. 6:23; II Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:1; II Pet. 1:4; I Jn. 5:1)
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; it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but their own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
(Is. 55:1,6,7; Matt. 11:28; Jn. 3:15-18,36; 5:40; 6:37; Acts 2:38; Rom. 8:29,30; 10:13; I Cor. 15:10; Eph. 1:1-14; 2:4,5; Col. 3:12; I Thess. 1:4; I Tim. 1:15; Titus 1:1; I Pet. 1:2; Rev. 22:17)
We believe the great blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification. Justification includes the pardon from sin and the gift of eternal life on principles of righteousness and is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood. His righteousness is then imputed to us.
(Is. 53:11; Zech. 13:1; Acts 13:39; Rom. 1:17; 4:1-8; 5:1,9; 8:1; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38)
Of Repentance and Faith
We believe repentance and faith are solemn obligations, and 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 this same time we heartily receive the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confess Him as our only and all-sufficient Saviour.
(Ps. 51:1-4,7; Is. 55:6,7; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 12:8; 18:13; Acts 2:37,38; 20:21; Rom. 10:9-13)
Of the Church
We believe 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. 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 the one and only Superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and the furtherance of the gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. All matters of membership, policy, government, discipline, benevolence, and the will of the local church is final.
(Matt. 16:18; 28:19-20; Acts 2:41,42; 6:5-7; 14:23; 15:22,23; 20:17-28; I Cor. 5:11-13; 6:1-3; 16:1; II Cor. 8:23,24; 12:4; Eph. 1:22,23; 4:11; 5:23,24; Col. 1:18, I Tim. 3:1-13; I Pet. 5:1-4)
Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe Christian baptism is the immersion in water of the believer in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is by the authority of the local church to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified and risen Saviour. It is symbolic of our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. It is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation and the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church, by the use of unleavened bread and the unfermented fruit of the vine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, always preceded by solemn self-examination.
(Matt. 3:6; 28:19,20; Jn. 3:23; Acts 2:41,42; 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3-5; I Cor. 11:23-34; Col. 2:12)
Of the Righteous and the Wicked
We believe 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 our God, are truly righteous in His esteem. While all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.
(Genesis 18:23; Prov. 11:31,14:32; Mal. 3:18; Matt. 7:13,14; 25:34,41; Lk. 9:26; 16:25; Jn. 8:21; 12:25; Acts 10:34,35; Rom. 1:17; 6:16-18,23; 7:6; I Cor. 15:22; Gal. 3:10; I Pet. 4:18; I Jn. 2:29; 3:7; 5:19)
Of Civil Government
We believe civil government is of divine appointment for the interest and good order of human society. Magistrates are prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ; who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth.
(Ex. 18:21; II Sam. 23:3; Dan. 3:17,18; Ps. 72:11; Matt. 10:28; 22:21; 23:10; Acts 4:19,20; 5:29; 23:5; Rom. 13:7; Phil. 2:10,11; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13,14,17; Rev. 10:6)
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 Christ rose bodily “the third day according to the Scriptures” and that He ascended “to the right hand of the throne of God.” He alone is our “merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God”; “that this same Jesus which was taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven… “bodily, personally, and visibly; that the “dead in Christ shall rise first”; that the living saints “shall all 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.”
(Ps. 72:8; Is. 9:6,7; 11:4,5; 32:1; Matt. 24:27; 25:13; 28:6,7; Mk. 16:6,19; Lk. 1:32;24:2-6,39,51; Jn. 14:3; 20:27; Acts 1:9,11; I Cor. 15:4,25; Phil. 3:20,21; I Thess. 4:16-18; I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:17; 5:9,10; 8:1,6; 12:2; Jas. 5:8; I Jn. 2:1; Rev. 3:21; 20:1-6)
The command to give the Gospel to the world is clear and unmistakable and this commission was given to the church. Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, 10,1 am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Luke 24:47: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” John 20:21: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Of the Grace of Giving
Scriptural giving is one of the fundamentals of the faith.
II Corinthians 8:7: “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” We are commanded to bring our gifts into the storehouse [common treasury of the church] upon the first day of the week. (Mal. 3:10)
I Corinthians 16:2: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” Abraham gave a tenth part of all he had. This was four hundred years before the law and was confirmed in the New Testament when Jesus said, “These ought ye to have done” (Matt. 23:23). Leviticus 27:30 tells us that the tithe is the Lord’s. Malachi 3:10: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” In the New Testament, the common treasury was the church. Acts 4:34,35,37: “…And brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet… Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
Of the Offices of Bishop & Deacon
All believers are to be witnesses and servants of Christ. However, the offices of bishop and deacon carry the authority of the local church by virtue of ordination. We, therefore, believe the offices of a bishop and deacon are reserved for men who have met high Scriptural qualifications. We hold that the statement “husband of one wife” excludes women from these offices as well as any man who has been divorced or whose wife has been divorced.
The word “diakonos”, “servant” or “deacon” is used in many variations because it is a general word meaning, “ to run errands; an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):”
The term is “specially” applied to but not limited to any Christian, including children. ( See Mark 9:35; Matt 23:11-12; John 12:25-26; Rom 14:4; Rom 16:1-2) The use of the word in each of these verses does not denote an office, but the action of the person. The difference between the verses above and the verses below is in the elected office of the church.
I Timothy 3:1, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
I Timothy 3:13, “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves, a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
The early church ordained deacons and bishops and thus established offices granting authority to these men under the church. The offices of bishop and deacon as created by the election of the church must fall under the jurisdiction of Scriptural qualification demands. A woman can indeed be a “diakonos”, but not hold the “position in authority”. In fact, every Christian can be a “diakonos” but not all are qualified to serve in the “office”.
A comparison may be made with the office of a bishop (preacher or pastor). Mark 16:15 states, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The great commission commands every Christian to “preach the Gospel”. The word “preach” is “kerusso (kay-roos’-so);” and means “to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel):” Every Christian must practice the proclamation of the Good News, but the office of a preacher is reserved to those who are called and meet the criteria found in 1 Tim 3:1-7. Preaching or proclaiming is the practice, but the term “bishop” reveals the office. Always remember the office of a servant (deacon) and the office of a bishop (preacher) are exclusive.
(See I Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:5-9)
Of the Sign Gifts
We believe that the sign gifts found in the book of Acts, specifically speaking in tongues and prophecy, were temporal and were exclusively used as signs to the Jews and ceased with the completion of the New Testament. (I Corinthians 13:8-13)
From Acts 2:4-11, we conclude that the languages spoken on the Day of Pentecost were the foreign languages understood by those nations represented on that day. We also believe the warnings and instructions of Paul in I Corinthians 14 give the rules for governing speaking with tongues and show the error of the modern tongue movement.