We believe the Bible teaches that there is one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all that exists, seen and unseen, the King of the universe He created.1 God the Father is eternal in His being and infinite in His character, making known His sovereign perfections of holiness and goodness, righteousness and mercy, justice and faithfulness.2 God the Father is slow to anger, ready to forgive, compassionate, gracious, and abounding in love.3 God the Father has made Himself known supremely and most personally through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whom He sent to become fully human yet live without sin, to fulfill God’s Law, to bear the judgment His people deserve, to be raised from the dead, and thus to reconcile the world to God.4 God the Father has a good plan for the whole world, and He has made good promises for the blessing of people from all nations.5 God the Father hears and responds to the prayers offered to Him in faith, according to His own perfect will, wisdom, power, and love.6
1 Includes a corporate paraphrase of the opening lines of The Apostles’ and Nicene creeds, as well as Ex. 15:18; 2 Samuel 22:32; Ps. 10:16, 24, 29, 45:6, and 146:10; Heb. 1:10-12; Rev. 11:15.
2 Deut. 32:4 and 33:27; 2 Sam. 22:31; Ps. 18:30, 90:2, and 103:6-7 ; Isa. 6:3-5, 26:4, and 40:28; Matt.5:48; James 1:16-18; 1 Jn. 1:5.
3 Ex. 34:6-7; Ne. 9:17 and 31; Ps. 86:15 and 103:8-14; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2.
4 Ps. 2, 22, and 45:6-7; Is. 52:6-53:12; Matt. 11:27; John 1:18, 3:16-21, 14:9-10 and 18-24, and 17:25-26; Rom. 3:21-26, 4:25, and 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Eph. 1:4-10; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 2:2 and 4:10.
5 Gen. 12:1-3; Ps. 67:1-3 and 72:11; Isa. 66:18-19; Matt. 24:14; Luke 24:47; Rom. 16:26; Rev. 7:9-10.
6 Ps. 10:16-18; Matt. 6:7-8 and 7:7-11; Rom. 8:26-27 and 34; Eph. 3:15-21; Heb. 4:15-16 and 7:25.
We believe the Bible teaches that our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ is God, the only eternal Son of the Father, the Word of God made flesh.1 God the Son, Jesus Christ is the supreme expression of God’s Word and the exact imprint and embodiment of His nature.2 God the Son came into this world to save His people from their sins, reconcile the world to God, and bring glory to God the Father.3 Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament Scriptures and the Christ revealed in the New Testament Scriptures – our great Prophet who makes God known and speaks God’s Word to us; our great Priest who removes our sin and represents us before God the Father; and our great King who governs God’s people, leads us in the spiritual battle, defends us from evil, brings us into unity with Himself and each other, and serves as our perfect example to follow.4 God the Son, Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, full in His humanity, sinless in His life, attested by His miracles, and authoritative in His teaching.5 Jesus Christ died for our sins as our Substitute, bearing in His body the penalty we deserve and providing atonement to God the Father for all who receive and trust in Him.6 God raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures.7 The risen Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of God the Father; He lives forever as the one Mediator between God and humanity; and He rules as Head of His Church and Lord over all things.8 Finally, God the Son, Jesus Christ will come again, visibly and in great power and glory, to receive His people unto Himself and reign forever as God and King.9
1 See Isa. 45:23 with Phil. 2:9; John 1:1-4 and 14 and 8:58; Col. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:15; Heb. 1:6-12.
2 John 1:1-5, 9-14, and 16-18; Rev. 19:11-16. On Jesus’s ‘I am’ statements in the Gospel of John, see John 6:35, 48, and 51; 8:12 and 9:5; 10:7 and 9; 10:11 and 14; 11:25; 14:1-6; and 15:1-17. On Jesus being ‘the exact imprint and embodiment of God’s nature,’ see 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 1:12-17; Heb. 1:1-4. See also our statements on “God the Trinity” and “God the Father” concerning the infinite perfections of God’s character met fully in the Person of Jesus Christ.
3 Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:30-33; John 1:14-18 and 17:1; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 Tim. 1:15.
4 On the Messiah as Prophet: Deut. 18:15. On the Messiah as Priest and King: Psalm 110. See also: Acts 3:22-26 and 18:28; Heb. 4:14; Rev. 17:14.
5 Matt. 1:23 and 7:24-29; Acts 2:22; Heb. 4:15.
6 ‘Atonement’ is an exceptionally important Biblical and theological concept that runs throughout the Scriptures – from Genesis to Revelation, and which deserves a note of explanation. The term ‘atone’ means “to satisfy or make amends for wrongdoing or injury.” We have rebelled against God’s good and sovereign authority; we have broken God’s holy Law; we have sinned against God, personally and corporately; and, we must somehow atone to God who is altogether sovereign, good, holy, righteous, and just. Embedded in the Biblical concept of ‘atonement’ is: 1- Because of our sin, all human beings need to be made right with and reconciled to God; 2- Our sinful nature and our actual sin render us incapable of atoning for ourselves or for anyone else; 3- Only Jesus Christ is qualified to serve as our Substitute, due to His perfect keeping of God’s Law and fulfillment of God’s will during His life on earth; 4- Jesus Christ became our “atoning sacrifice” when He offered Himself freely and fully to God, dying on the cross in the place of all who would believe; and 5- Only those who receive Jesus’s ‘substitutionary atonement’ by faith, believing that God raised Jesus from the dead, are justified (declared “not guilty” by God, He having accepted Jesus’s atonement as thoroughly satisfactory on our behalf). On the Biblical concept and application of atonement, Cf. Isa. 52:13-53:12 (esp. 53:5); John 1:12-13; Rom. 3:21-26 and 8:3; Gal. 3:13.
7 Acts 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:8.
8 On the ascension of Jesus: Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9 and 2:33; Col. 3:1; Heb. 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22. On Jesus as Intercessor, Head, and Mediator: Rom. 8:34; Col. 1:18; 1 Tim. 2:5.
9 Matt. 16:27, 24:27, and 25:31; Mark 8:38; John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 22:20.
We believe the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is God, the Lord and Giver of life; He was with God the Father and God the Son in the beginning; and He is the very Presence of God in the world and of Jesus Christ in and among His people.1 The Holy Spirit provided God’s special revelation to Old Testament believers; He brought about the holy and divine conception of Jesus Christ, empowered Jesus throughout His earthly ministry and as He went to the cross, and raised Jesus from the dead.2 God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Spirit to lead God’s people into all truth and to bring glory to Jesus Christ as our risen Savior and Lord.3 God speaks, guides, and illumines our hearts, minds, lives, and ministries by the Holy Spirit, and He does so through the Bible, prayerful reflection, the wise counsel of the Church, events and circumstances, and sometimes in spontaneous ways.4 The Holy Spirit brings conviction to the world, regenerates and indwells God’s people, transforms us into new creatures, and empowers every believer in Christ to live in conformity to the Word of God and character of Jesus Christ, to spread the Gospel, and to do good works that glorify God and strengthen the Church.5 The Holy Spirit baptizes and seals all who trust in Jesus Christ until the Day of redemption.6 Finally, all Christians everywhere are called not to grieve the Holy Spirit by unbelief and sinful living but to be continually filled with and led by the Holy Spirit as we pray and follow God’s will as He has made it known in the Bible.7
1 Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30; John 14:16-17; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 3:17.
2 On special revelation to Old Testament believers: Ex. 31:3; 1 Sam. 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:11. On the miraculous conception of Jesus: Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35. On the Spirit’s empowering of Jesus: Matt. 12:18; Luke 4:1, 14, and 18; John 1:32; Heb. 9:14. On the Spirit’s role in the resurrection of Jesus: Rom. 1:4 and 8:11.
3 Luke 24:49; John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:14; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Peter 1:12.
4 On God speaking and guiding throughout the Bible: Ps. 119:105; Heb. 3:7. On God speaking through prayerful reflection: 2 Cor. 12:8-9; 2 Tim. 2:7. On God speaking through the Church: Prov. 12:15 and 24:6; Acts 15:22, 25, and 28. On God speaking through events and circumstances: 1 Cor. 16:8-9; 2 Cor. 2:12-13; Col. 4:2-3.
5 On conviction by the Holy Spirit: John 16:8; Acts 2:37. On regeneration by the Holy Spirit: John 3:3-6 and 6:63; 2 Cor. 3:6. On empowerment by the Holy Spirit: Matt. 5:13-16; Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:9-11 and 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Pet. 4:10-11.
6 Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 12:13.
7 Rom. 8:14; Eph. 4:30, 5:18, and 6:18; Gal. 5:16.
We believe the Bible teaches that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation.1 God works by His Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel message to bring people to a response of repentance from sins and a life of faith.2 The Gospel is God’s revelation of good news and hope concerning what Jesus Christ has accomplished in history – as both Savior and Lord – to reconcile people to God by His sinless life on earth, His sacrificial death for our sins, His resurrection from the dead, and His return to God to intercede for His people.3 Except for Jesus Christ and because of sin, the whole human race is unrighteous, deserving of God’s everlasting judgment, and subject to His condemnation and wrath.4 Even so, God has made gracious promises of blessing and reconciliation for the world revealed throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, and Jesus is the Christ sent by God to fulfill His promises.5 When He became a human being like us, Jesus overcame all of the temptations of the flesh, the world, and Satan; He lived a sinless life on earth; and He obeyed perfectly the word and will of God the Father.6 In His sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus served as the perfect Substitute for His people, and He satisfied God’s righteous judgment for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him.7 Raising Jesus from the dead and exalting Him, God the Father proved His acceptance of Christ’s perfect sacrifice and proclaimed Jesus to be Savior of His people and Lord over all things.8 God promises and offers forgiveness, new spiritual life, the gift of His Holy Spirit, and everlasting fellowship to all who repent and trust Jesus Christ.9 Genuine repentance involves humbly turning away from one's own sin in view of God's mercy and turning to God with a desire to follow His good will.10 True saving faith involves receiving and believing the truth of Jesus Christ, trusting Jesus Christ as risen Savior and Lord, and relying upon God to be faithful to His promises in the Gospel.11
1 On the gospel message as God's power: Rom. 1:16-17 and 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:18.
2 On God's work through the ministry of preaching and teaching: Matt. 28:19-20; John 6:63 and 17:20; Acts 10:44; Rom. 1:13-17; 6:17 and 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:1-5; 2 Cor. 4:5-6; 2 Tim. 2:24-26 and 4:1-2; 1 Thes. 1:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:12 and 23.
3 On the fundamental facts of Christ and the Gospel: Mark 1:1ff; John 3:16; Luke 24:44-47; Rom. 1:1-6 and 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:1-9; 2 Tim. 2:8. Note: The Gospel is not what we do; but rather, it tells us what God has done through Christ to rescue and restore sinful people.
4 On the necessity of Christ’s saving work: Rom. 1:18-32 and 3:23; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Eph. 2:1-3 and 5, 4:17-19, and 5:5-6; Col. 3:5-7. Humanity's sin necessitated Christ to come to die as the sacrificial substitute for His people – bearing the sin, condemnation, wrath, and judgment His people deserve – and in such a way that God would be both just and merciful in His work of reconciling to Himself sinners and the world; See: Rom 3:21-26 and 8:3; Gal. 3:11-14; Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 3:18.
5 On God's promises of blessing and reconciliation in the Old Testament, to be fulfilled in Christ: Gen. 3:15; 12:1-3; Ps. 22:22-31 and 72; Isa. 2:1-4; 9:1-7 and 52:13-53:12; Ezek. 36:26; Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 5:1-17; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:16-21 and 24:46-48; Rom. 1:2; Gal. 3:8; and 1 Pet. 1:10-12.
6 On Christ’s sinless life, perfect righteousness, and obedience: Matt. 3:15 and 5:17; Rom. 5:12-21; Heb. 4:15.
7 On the significance of Christ’s death as our substitute: Rom. 3:24-26 and 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13.
8 On the significance of Christ’s resurrection: Luke 23:46; Acts 2:36; Rom. 4:25.
9 On the free offer of the Gospel to all: Luke 24:47; John 3:16; Acts 17:30 and 26:20; Rom 1:16-17; 2 Pet. 3:9.
10 On the nature of genuine repentance: Ps. 51; Isa. 55:7; Ezek. 14:6; Luke 18:13; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; 1 Thess. 1:9.
11 On the nature of saving faith: John 1:12; Acts 15:11 and 16:31; Rom. 4:4-5 and 4:19-25; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 11:1-40. Relying on God to be faithful to His promises in the Gospel includes trusting God for His gifts of forgiveness, new spiritual life, the Holy Spirit, and everlasting fellowship with Him.
We believe the Bible teaches that God saves His people from the just judgment, righteous condemnation, and holy wrath our sins deserve and that there is no eternal hope apart from God’s mercy and grace in Jesus Christ.1 God gives eternal life to those whom He chooses, freely by His grace through faith, not on the basis of anything we do, earn, or deserve but only on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done.2 God brings His people into a life of repentance and saving faith by calling us out of the darkness of unbelief, revealing Himself to our hearts through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and causing us to be born again by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.3 All who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and surrender to Him as Lord are no longer under God’s condemnation but are forgiven and justified on the sole basis of Christ's righteousness, sacrifice, and resurrection.4 God adopts all true believers into His family; He assures us of eternal salvation; and He is able to fulfill His promises to keep us secure and bring us into His eternal glory.5 God transforms all true Christians into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ through a lifetime of exposure to God’s Word and personal experience in the Holy Spirit, as believers grow in their faith and obedience to God’s will.6
1 On salvation from God's judgment in condemnation and wrath: John 3:36; Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10. On no hope for anyone apart from God's mercy and grace: John 3:3-8; Eph. 2:1-3 and 12.
2 John 5:24 and 17:3; Rom. 3:24 and 4:4-5; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:5.
3 John 3:3-8 and 5:24-25; Rom. 1:16 and 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:9, 18, and 30; 2 Cor. 4:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:23.
4 Rom. 3:24, 5:1-3, and 8:1; Eph. 1:7. Please note: In the New Testament, ‘justified’ means “declared righteous” or “counted righteous” by God as Righteous Judge; this is the opposite of being ‘condemned.’ This ‘justification’ is not something any believer earns or deserves based on what we do or who we are. Rather, believers are counted righteous – we are justified – in faith on the sole basis of what God has done in and through Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection. Jesus Christ's righteousness is counted to those who believe.
5 John 10:28-29; Rom. 8:28-39; 1 Pet. 1:5.
6 Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 3:16.
We believe the Bible teaches that the Church of Jesus Christ – visible and invisible – is the household of the living God and the body of the living Christ.1 The Church is comprised of all true believers in the one true and living God in all places and at all times throughout human history.2 God adopts all true believers into His family on the sole basis of Jesus Christ’s shed blood, death, and resurrection.3 God calls His household on earth to be gathered, established, and to meet regularly in local churches throughout the world – congregations comprised of baptized members of Christ’s body who profess a credible faith in Jesus Christ – for ministries of worship, Word, prayer, fellowship, spiritual growth, and discipleship.4 Local churches should be taught by Biblically qualified pastors and led in partnership with a plurality of Biblically qualified elders.5 The Lord Jesus has appointed ordinances of baptism and communion for His people to practice as visible signs of His grace to us and to serve as means for us to express and be strengthened in our faith in Him.6 God calls all believers to follow Jesus in baptism as a humble act of submission to God, personal repentance and faith, and as a reminder to us – as individual believers and as a community of faith – of our shared union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.7 Likewise, God calls all believers to share in the bread and cup of Holy Communion – regularly and together with the Lord Jesus – in humility, repentance, faith, and harmony with the local church, remembering and proclaiming the risen Lord Jesus Christ's death until He comes again in glory.8
1 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:5.
2 Scripture speaks of ‘the Church’ in this universal, worldwide sense in Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23. Note: The ‘universal Church’ can also be referred to as ‘the invisible Church,’ because it includes believers who have already passed away and because it is defined by the invisible realities of God's grace and the Holy Spirit.
3 Eph. 1:5 and 2:13-22; Gal. 3:13-14 and 29; Rev. 1:5-6.
4 On the Church being visibly expressed and united in ministries of worship, Word, prayer, fellowship, spiritual growth, and discipleship, see: Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:42; Rom. 12:3-13 and 15:5-7; 1 Cor. 1:10 and 12:12-26; Eph. 2:19 and 4:1-3. On Christians meeting together regularly: Luke 24:1 and 13-49; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Heb. 10:25; Rev. 1:10. Note: It was the practice of the Early Church to meet together on the first day of every week in remembrance and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On congregations being comprised of baptized members who profess credible faith in Christ, see: Matt. 18:17 and 28:19-20; Rom. 6:1-4; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Col. 2:6-12. Note: We therefore believe all Christians everywhere are called to promote Biblical truth, unity, and holiness within the larger body of Christ while manifesting humility, wisdom, and love in relation to each other. Furthermore, we believe members and leaders of local churches should share a common, Biblical faith; a purposeful sense of local and global mission; and a mutual care, accountability, and submission to the Lord in true spiritual fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters of Christ.
5 On teaching pastors: Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:1-5. On a plurality of elders in every local church: Acts 14:23 and 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5.
6 On Jesus appointing ordinances of baptism and communion: Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-34.
7 On baptism: Matt. 3:13-15 and 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 and 8:12; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21.
8 On Holy Communion: Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16 and 11:23-34.
We believe the Bible teaches that God is and God will be the Judge of all people through Jesus Christ.1 God is perfectly righteous and just in all of His judgments, taking into account all of the thoughts, words, actions, and secrets of the heart of every person.2 God’s final judgment will not involve wrath or condemnation for those who are in union with Christ Jesus, because God already condemned our sin in Jesus as our Substitute by His death on the cross.3 God’s merciful judgment of believers in Christ will confirm our faith and result in eternal reward from God the Father, according to how we have lived in faith and hope toward God in Christ and love for Him and other human beings.4 When we who are in union with Christ Jesus die physically, our souls enter into God’s presence and are graciously received by Him, perfected and set free from the presence and power of sin, and united with others who have died in Christ, awaiting together the resurrection of our bodies.5 The soul of every person who does not hope in God through faith in Jesus Christ continues in unrighteousness forever.6 Ultimately, our risen Lord Jesus Christ will come again – personally and visibly – in great power and glory.7 He will raise the bodies of all people, reuniting bodies with souls, and He will reveal fully God's good, righteous, and everlasting judgment.8 The unbelieving and unrighteous will bear for themselves God's judgment of condemnation and wrath, involving darkness and destruction, fire and misery, and separation from God and His grace forever.9 All who are in union with Jesus Christ will inherit the new heavens and new earth, where we will reside in God’s presence and share in fellowship with Him and His people, joyfully worshipping and serving God in the fullness of His grace and glory forevermore.10
1 On God's present work of judgment within human history: Ps. 9:7-8; Rom 1:18; 1 Cor. 11:29-33; 1 Pet. 4:17. On God's appointed Day of final judgment: Matt. 7:22-23 and 12:36; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16 and 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; James 4:12; Rev 20:11-15.
2 On God's judgment being altogether righteous and just, see: Matt. 12:36 and Matt 25:31-46; Rom. 2:1-16; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-15.
3 Jesus’s death on the cross as our perfect and perfectly satisfactory Substitute – His perfectly righteous life given on behalf of and in the place of true believers – is fundamental to an historically orthodox Christian understanding of the Biblical Gospel. On God's judgment involving "no condemnation" for believers, see: Rom. 3:21-28, 5:1, 8:1-3, and 8:33-34; Gal. 2:16, 3:11, and 3:13; Eph. 2:8; Tit. 3:7. Note: Believers have been forever counted righteous (justified) by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Justification is the opposite of condemnation.
4 On God's judgment involving reward for believers: Matt. 5:12; 6:4, 6, and 18; 10:41-42; and 25:21 and 23; Luke 19:17; 2 Cor. 5:10.
5 On believers being "with the Lord" immediately after death: Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12:23.
6 On the continued existence of the unrighteous: Luke 16:22-24; 2 Pet. 2:4.
7 On Jesus's coming again: Matt. 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:15-17; Rev. 1:7.
8 On the bodily resurrection of all people and final revelation of God's judgment: John 5:28-29; Rom. 8:18-25; 1 Cor. 15:12-58; Phil. 3:20-21; 2 Pet. 3:7-13.
9 On the eternal state of the unrighteous: Matt. 8:12, 13:50, 22:13, and 25:30; Mark 9:43; Luke 3:17 and 13:28; John 5:29; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 20:11-15.
10 On the eternal state of the righteous: Matt. 13:43 and 25:30 and 46; John 14:2-3; Eph. 2:7; 1 Thess. 4:17; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 20:11-22:5.