DOCTRINAL STATEMENT of THE BRANSON CHURCH

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents (Psalm 12:6, 19:7-11, 119:140; Proverbs 30:5-6), infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 20:11, 31:17) and in Revelation 20 a literal one thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth (Revelation 1:20-21).

We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Psalm 119:89, 140, 142, 151, 160; Matthew 4:4, 5:18, 24:35; John 10:35, 16:12-13, 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

We teach that God spoke in His written Word by the process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed the recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter 1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Psalm 12:6, 19:7-9; Proverbs 30:5-6; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 2 Timothy 3:16).

We teach that, whereas there may be multiple applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17, 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-16; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 John 2:20, 27). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15), recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it (John 12:48; Hebrews 4:12).

GOD

We teach that there is but one true, eternally existing God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4; James 2:19). This unique God is triune, being one in essence and yet existing, ever and always, in three Persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26-27, 3:22, 11:7; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19: 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18, 4:4-6). Functional subordinations within the Trinity never stand opposed to the full Deity that each of the Persons possesses (John 4:34, 5:30, 12:49, 14:10, 16:13; 1 Corinthians 11:3).

God the Father:

We teach that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 115:3, 136:6; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11). He is the creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Acts 14:15, 17:24; Ephesians 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Daniel 4:34-36; Romans 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Acts 17:28-29; Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (John 20:17; Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 3:14-15).

We teach that in His sovereignty He is neither author nor does He approve of sin (Psalm 5:4; Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:1-2) yet without abridging the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (Romans 2:5-10, 9:19-21; 1 Peter 1:17). He graciously saves all who come to Him through Jesus Christ, adopting them as His own (Matthew 11:28; John 1:12; Romans 8:15, 10:13; Galatians 4:5; Revelation 22:17).

We teach that in view of His attributes of greatness (self-existence, infinitude, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability, incomprehensibility, etc.), He is transcendent in being (Psalm 113:1-5; Isaiah 57:15). However, from the perspective of His qualities of goodness (justice, grace, love, beneficence, restraint, mercy, faithfulness, etc.), He is intimately involved with all His creatures, especially His chosen people (Psalm 33:18, 19, 34:15, 113:6-9; Isaiah 40:27-31, 57:15; Matthew 6:26-33, 11:29, 30).

God the Son:

We teach that the second Person of the godhead is eternally of the same essence of being as the Father (John 1:1-3, 10:30, 14:9; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3). His attributes of greatness and goodness also correspond to the Father’s. His emptying of Himself in Philippians 2:5-8 was not of His divine essence or the surrendering of His full Deity but pertained to the independent exercise of His Divine prerogative during the First Advent–the incarnation (John 1:14). His incarnation was initiated by the virgin birth or miraculous conception (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:30-35) in which He took upon Himself genuine humanity (Hebrews 2:9-18; 1 John 4:2). He thereby became the unique God-man who consequently is the perfect Revealer, Savior, Mediator, and ultimately the Judge of all men (John 1:18; Titus 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 5:22, 27). Through this loving condescension, He fully accomplished His task of grace which culminated in His sacrificial death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, furnishing the grounds for the forgiveness of believing sinners (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Romans 1:4, 4:25, 6:1-11; Acts 1:9). As our sole and perfect Mediator, Christ is prophet, priest, and king of the Church of God (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:24; Daniel 7:14; Luke 1:33).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled His priestly office by offering Himself a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 5:7-10, 7:27) truly (actually, not potentially) accomplishing our redemption and reconciliation (Luke 1:68; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 5:9) through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross. His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (Isaiah 53:5-8; John 10:15, 17, 18; Romans 3:24-25, 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). As a result of these truths, we believe and teach that Christ’s atoning death is sufficient to satisfy God’s eternal justice for the sins of all mankind but is efficient only for all who will believe–who constitute the elect people of God (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 1:21, 20:28; Luke 1:68; John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25).

We teach that today our Lord is building His Church (Matthew 16:18) and continually ministering to her as the heavenly Advocate interceding for the saints (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). He will return to His bride in glory (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42, 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Revelation 20:11-15)

God the Holy Spirit:

We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality (John 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:7-8, 13-15) and deity (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21); including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4, 28:25-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21; Psalm 95:6-11; Hebrews 3:7-11; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 10:15-17).

We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:35), the written revelation (2 Samuel 23:2; John 14:25-26, 16:13-15; Acts 28:25; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Hebrews 3:7, 9:8, 10:15; 2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-8, 6:63; 1 Corinthians 3:6; Titus 3:5).

We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (Luke 24:49; John 14:14-16, 15:26; Acts 1:4) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5-6), baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Acts 1:8, 4:8, 31; Romans 8:9, 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 3:16, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; 1 John 2:20, 27).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible. Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 1 John 2:20, 27).

We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (Acts 14:3; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).

CREATION

We teach that God created out of nothing the physical universe and all that it contains, including angelic beings, in six literal days (Genesis 1:1-31; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 33:6-9; Proverbs 3:19; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3). He also sustains for His own purposes the whole of that which He has created (Job 38:4-39:30; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).

We teach that God has revealed His nature to us through His creation and because of that, man (male or female) is without excuse of the knowledge of His existence. As part of His creation God reveals Himself through the preservation of the universe (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23; Colossians 1:16-17).

We teach the sovereign providence of God (Psalm 103:19, 135:6; Isaiah 14:26-27; Daniel 4:34-35; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11). His absolute sway is all inclusive, including, for example, history (Job 12:23; Psalm 22:28, 75:25-26; Daniel 2:20-21, 4:34-35), the circumstances of life (Proverbs 16:1, 9, 20:24; Acts 17:25-26; James 4:13-15), duration of life (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16), manner of death (John 21:18-19), helpful acts of men (Isaiah 44:28-45:7; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13), harmful acts of men (Genesis 20:6, 45:4-8, 50:20; Exodus 14:17; 2 Samuel 12:11-12; 1 Kings 22:23; Isaiah 10:5; Jeremiah 25:9; Psalm 105:25; Proverbs 16:4; Amos 3:6; Acts 4:27-28), salvation of sinners (Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14), the greatest world events (Acts 2:23, 4:28; Revelation 13:8), seemingly trivial circumstances (Job 37:6-13; Proverbs 16:33; Matthew 6:26, 10:29-30), etc. These truths, however, never nullify the responsibilities of created, moral beings (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:22-23).

MAN

We teach that man is a direct product of the creative handiwork of God (Genesis 2:7; Psalm 100:3). Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:15-25). God created mankind in and according to His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), and even after the fall, no matter how thoroughly distorted that image has become, it is not eradicated (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9).

We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11). The reality of the image of likeness of God indicates that man, via his original creation, resembles God in certain characteristics and capacities which are necessary for relationship with God and fellow man and also for mankind’s exercise of dominion over the rest of the earth (Genesis 1:28). The grace of God in salvation, sanctification, and glorification focuses on the renewing of this image until it is finally perfect and eternally established (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:4).

We teach that both male and female equally bear the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Although they share the same essence of being, there are nevertheless functional distinctions and subordinations (similar phenomenon with the Trinity). These differences, biblically based upon creation and not cultural biases, are significant for both our families and the Church (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6).

We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurring the penalty of spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God, and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. Through Adam’s one act of disobedience, he not only fell from his estate of innocence into one of separation and alienation from God, but as our representative, he also plunged the whole race into sin and death (Genesis 2:17, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). Consequently, all persons from their conception and birth are spiritually estranged from God (Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21), innately unholy and stand condemned by their sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-3), and their sinful acts (Romans 1:18-3:20) before their Creator and Judge. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23, 5:10-12).

We teach that man’s depravity (corrupt sinful nature) is total in breadth (1 Kings 8:46; Isaiah 1:2-6, 53:6; Romans 3:9-20, 7:18) and depth (Ecclesiastes 9:3; Mark 7:14-23; Romans 8:7-8). Sin, like a drop of poison deposited in a cup of water, has poisoned the entire cup. By this we mean that all the faculties of man’s heart (rational, volitional, emotional, etc.) are morally tainted by sin and perversity (Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Romans 7:18; Ephesians 4:17-19). Leaving mankind utterly hopeless and helpless in reference to any kind of human reformation or rescue–he can not save himself (Isaiah 64:5-7; Jeremiah 13:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 1:21-22). Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8). These realities are not only crucial for an accurate theology but also for a proper biblical approach to ministry (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, 2:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:16-4:2).

SALVATION

We teach that salvation is completely the sovereign work of God (John 1:13; Titus 3:5-6). We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19). A single divine method of salvation by grace through faith has been in effect since the fall of man (Romans 4:1-9, 9:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 11:1-39). This great truth, however, never nullifies or diminishes neither the sinner’s responsibility of appropriation nor the servant’s responsibility of communication (Romans 10:8-15).

We teach that God’s sovereign plan of salvation was divinely drafted in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Revelation 13:8), including all of its provisions (works of Christ and of the Spirit) and processes (Titus 3:3-7). Furthermore, on an individual, historical basis, His grace stands behind all the stages of salvation: past–justification, present–sanctification, and future–glorification (Romans 8:29-30). Thus, our salvation is entirely accomplished by the almighty power of the sovereign and gracious triune God (Titus 3:5).

Election:

We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously calls, regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies (Matthew 11:27; Romans 8:28-30, 9:6-18, 11:7; Ephesians 1:4-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1-2, 2:9; Revelation 13:7-8).

We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord, nor the genuineness of God’s open offer of salvation through Christ (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; Matthew 11:28-30, 23:37; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40, 7:37; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 2:17, 22:17). Nor does the doctrine of election negate the responsibility of believers to proclaim the gospel (Isaiah 1:18-19, 55:1-3; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 9:1-26; 2 Timothy 2:10). All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44, 65; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).

We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is unconditional and not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7, 2:1-5; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).

Regeneration:

We teach that regeneration (new birth) is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 1:13, 3:3-7; Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 3:6, 5:24; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. The new birth results in the believers union with Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 2:13) in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:12), thus receiving the spiritual graces of the New Covenant (peace with God, a new heart, new affections, deliverance from the dominating power of sin, etc.) (Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26-27; Romans 5:1, 6:1-23; Colossians 2:11-13).

We teach that because genuine regeneration involves the imparting of a new life, a new heart and saving faith, it will be manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Faith working through love will be in proper evidence and fruit (John 8:31, 14:15, 21-23; Romans 6:6, 17-22, 8:10-13; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Galatians 5:6, 22-23; Ephesians 2:10, 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 3:16; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 11:1-40; James 2:14-26; 2 Peter 1:4-10; 1 John 2:2-5, 3:3, 6-10). This grace-empowered obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Such conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:19; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2).

Justification:

We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

Sanctification:

We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional, permanent, and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk, his experiential condition or his final future state (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11, 3:1, 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state (practice) of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17-19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:13-15; Colossians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23; Hebrews 12:14).

We teach, in this respect, that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict. He is a new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 7:15-25), but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Romans 6:14-18; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

Separation:

We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

We teach that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior (Romans 12:1, 14:7-8; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Ephesians 4:1-3, 5:1-18). We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Matthew 10:34-39; Luke 12:51-53, 14:25-27; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).

We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness (John 14:15, 21) that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:1-10).

Perseverance:

We teach the Biblical doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. This doctrine has two parts: that God will so work with His people in His grace that they will inevitably be preserved to the end and be saved (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1, 24; John 6:38-40, 10:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-14; Philippians 1:6), and that it is equally true, that no person will be saved without persevering to the end. Thus no true child of God, born of the Holy Spirit, will ever be lost (Romans 8:29-30), but in order to be saved, believers must persevere to the end in faith and obedience (Mark 13:13; Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:14, 10:11-12, 12:14). The means God uses to bring about our perseverance are His magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:2-4) and His terrifying warnings (Hebrews 10:26-29, 12:28-29).

Security:

We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24, 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10, 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25, 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).

We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22, 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).

CHURCH

We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18).

We teach that the formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6, 5:32).

We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Romans 16:1-16; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; Philemon 2) and that the members of the one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).

We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (Matthew 16:18, 28:18; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures (Ephesians 4:7-11). The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, over-seers, pastors, and pastor teachers; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 5:1) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy 5:17-22; Hebrews 13:17) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20, 5:17-20; Titus 1:10-16, 3:10).

We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31, 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4 7, 13; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13 16), by instruction of the Word (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:2, 15, 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:25; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38-42, 8:36-38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8, 2:42).

We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).

We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (Matthew 24:24; 1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-10; Revelation 13:13-14). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; Philippians 2:27; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).

We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38-42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).

We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that the elements of Communion (bread and cup) are only representative of the flesh and blood of our beloved Christ, and our partaking of them is an acknowledgment of His substitutionary atoning sacrifice and our identity with Him as our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 10:16).

FAMILY

We teach that God created man (male and female). As such He created them different so as to complement and complete each other (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7, 2:18-25). God desires that it is better for a man or woman to marry rather than lust or commit fornication. God institutes monogamous marriage between one male and one female as the foundation of the family, and the basic structure of human society. It is in families that choose to love and honor God, and pattern their lives according to His Holy Bible, that He enables healthy relationships of purity and protection to be developed. The Scriptures teach that a husband’s body belongs to his wife and a wife’s to her husband, and neither should withhold themselves from each other except through mutual consent (1 Corinthians 7:1-15). We also believe that legitimate biblical sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage of one man and one woman. For this reason other sexual preferences or orientations such as, but not limited to, pornography, adultery, fornication, incest, polygamy, homosexuality, transgender, bisexuality, cross dressing, pedophilia, and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the Church (Exodus 22:16-19; Deuteronomy 22:13-30; Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Hebrews 13:4; Jude 7).

We teach that just as Christ is the head of the Church, so is the Father the head of the family. As such the Husband is called to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, and just as the Church submits to Christ, the wife submits to her husband, not unequally but designed to fulfill different roles (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:1-12). Within the family, parents are called to bring up (discipline and instruct) their children in the Lord and admonish them in the teachings of His Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Proverbs; Ephesians 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:8-15).

ANGELS

We teach the existence of angels who were apparently the first issue of God’s creation (Genesis 1:1; Job 38:6-7; Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16). In relation to men, these created spirit beings currently have greater powers (2 Peter 2:11), and yet, elect angels minister on behalf of elect people (Hebrews 1:14). Furthermore, one day redeemed people will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

We teach that morally angels may be classified under two headings: holy or elect angels (Mark 8:38; 1 Timothy 5:21) and fallen angels (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:9). There also seems to be various hierarchies of angels; for example, archangels (Jude 9), special attendants (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:6), and designations in series (Colossians 1:16, 2:15; Ephesians 3:10, 6:12; 1 Peter 3:22).

We teach that at the head of all fallen angels stands Satan (Job 1:6-9, 12; Matthew 4:10). Subsequent to his creation, he fell morally, and along with him there followed a host of fallen angels some of whom today are bound while others are still active in the world (Matthew 12:24, 25:41; Revelation 9:1-11). He then became the subtle instigator of mankind’s fall (Genesis 3; 2 Corinthians 11:3). Currently he roams the earth, but his ultimate end is guaranteed by the finished work of Christ (Romans 16:20; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:10).

We teach that although believers are in union with Christ, we are not to be presumptuous so as to seek to engage the Archenemy and his host. Our call is to be aware of his methods (2 Corinthians 2:11), stand defensively in the provision of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and resist, not charge, him (James 4:7).

FUTURE EVENTS

Death:

We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Job 19:25-29; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:4-6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).

We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 42-54; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Revelation 20:4-5), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 20:13-15).

We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (Job 19:25-27; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever, and experience continual punishment for eternity (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 5:21-22, 27-30, 8:11-12, 10:28, 13:30, 40-43, 49-50, 18:6-9, 23:15, 33, 24:51, 25:41-46; Mark 9:42-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Hebrews 6:1-2; Jude 7, 13).

The Rapture of the Church:

We teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12).

The Tribulation Period:

We teach that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1 3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27, 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 4:1-22:6), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27-31, 25:31-46; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 19:11-16). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:15-31, 25:31-46; Mark 13:4-37; Luke 21:7-36).

The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign:

We teach that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (2 Samuel 7:8-16; Isaiah 9:7, 16:5; Psalm 2:1-12, 89:3-4, 29, 35-37, 132:11; Jeremiah 23:5, 30:9, 33:14-21; Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:24-28; Hosea 3:5; Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11, 2:29-30; Revelation 19:11-16) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:4-6). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 19:20-20:7).

We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isaiah 27:6, 65:17-25; Jeremiah 3:11-18; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-36; Romans 11:25-29).

We teach that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11, 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7-10).

The Judgment of the Lost:

We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment.

We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Romans 14:10-13), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 3:8-12, 5:21-22, 27-30, 8:11-12, 10:28, 13:30, 40-42, 49-50, 18:6-9, 23:15, 33, 24:51, 25:41-46; Mark 9:42-48; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Hebrews 6:1-2; Jude 7, 13; Revelation 14:9-11, 20:11-15).

New Heaven & New Earth:

We teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).

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