Our Faith

The Bible

The Bible, containing the 66 books of the Protestant Church, is the Word of God (2 Tim 3:16) and as such it is inerrant and infallible in the original languages. Since everyone does not know the original languages that the Bible was written in there are to be faithful translations of the Bible made into every language. Believers must not think that the word of God is confined to the original languages, but should also trust that faithful translations are God’s infallible word inasmuch as they accurately reflect the original languages into the receptor language. Though the original autographs were directly inspired by God we trust that God has kept His promise to preserve them so that the copies (apographs) we now have access to are just as much the word of God as the original autographs. Because the source of the Bible is God, it is authoritative in all matters and thus should be believed and obeyed.

The way of salvation is communicated by God to us in the Bible and thus it is not only a book of truths to be believed and obeyed, but also the very plan of our salvation and the means by which God leads us to salvation in Christ through His Spirit (Rom 10:14; 2 Tim 3:15).

The Bible, being the ultimate authority that God has blessed us with, can be under no human authority but rather calls all to come under its authority. Therefore Scripture is to be interpreted by Scripture rather than by the imaginations of men (Acts 17:29). When something in Scripture is hard to understand we should seek out other Scripture and the illumination of the Holy Spirit to help our understanding.


God

There is one true and living God who exists in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each of whom is of the same substance and essence for there is only one God (Deut 6:4; 2 Pet 1:17; Titus 2:13; Acts 5:3-4; Lk 3:22). The Father has made all things that are created, by the Son, through the Holy Spirit. The Father is of none; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father (not created); the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from both the Father and the Son. This triune God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere). Thus there is nothing more powerful than God that can hinder His plan or His will; there is nothing hidden or unknown to God whether past, present, or future; there is nowhere to hide from God where we can escape His presence. He is all-wise and all-holy. He is the source of all goodness, justice, and truth.


Man

Adam and Eve were the first people, created directly by God. They sinned against God by yielding to the temptations of Satan. Because Adam represented all of his posterity, his sin is imputed to all of mankind. Thus all mankind are conceived and born with a sinful nature, which is often called “original sin.” Because we naturally have a sinful nature we are naturally unable to do anything good to merit a right relationship with God or to escape the torments of Hell which all sinners deserve.

All of mankind are created in the image of God. Though that image is tarnished by sin, it is nonetheless to be respected and honored. Thus when we treat a particular group of people, whether because of race, gender, age, wealth, power etc., as superior or inferior to other groups of people we sin against God in acting as if some are made more in His image and some are made less in His image.


Salvation

Because man is unable to do anything in his sinful state to make himself right with God, the Lord has made a way by freely offering sinners who are spiritually dead life and salvation by Jesus Christ, thereby putting us in a right relationship with God and making us citizens of heaven rather than hell. It is through faith in Jesus Christ and His work that the sinner is brought into God’s family, given the Holy Spirit to live inside of him, given the merit of Christ even as He took the punishment for our sins on the cross, and are able to call God “Father” (Rom 3:10 ff).

This faith in Jesus Christ is a gift of God’s grace (Rom 3:24) normally given through the proclamation of the biblical Gospel (Rom 10:14). This faith believes the Bible as the word of God and looks to it as his final authority. Such faith leads the Christian to submit to God’s will as revealed in His word, not to earn merit with God but rather out of a deep love for God. As such this faith leads the Christian to accept and rest upon Christ alone for both his life and salvation.

This same Jesus Christ is both God (Son of God) and man, two natures in one person, since His incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit (Mat 8:20; Heb 4:14). As Savior He represented those who would put their faith in Him. He perfectly kept the law of God, endured the torments and pain of life on earth as well as those of His sufferings on the cross as He took upon Himself the sins of His people and drank down the Father’s wrath on their behalf, thus satisfying God’s righteous anger and just punishment of our sins. He died on the cross, was buried, and then on the third day rose from the dead in His resurrected body. In this body He ascended to heaven, where He sits even now at the right hand of the Father on His kingly throne (Acts 1:9; Acts 2:33). It is from here that Christ will return to judge both men and angels (1 Thess 4:16; Heb 9:28; Acts 1:11).


The Church

The invisible/universal Church of God is comprised of all who have been saved in the past, are saved in the present, and will be saved in the future (the totality of the faithful from every age). This Church is the very Bride of Christ and clothed with the white robes of His righteousness and purity.

The visible/local Church of God is comprised of a group of the faithful who meet together for worship regularly. It is the duty of the faithful to work toward the purity of the faith by committing to Scripture as their authoritative rule of faith, practice, and life. The marks of a particular genuine visible/local church are found in the right preaching of the word of God, the right administration of the sacraments, and the right exercise of spiritual discipline.

The visible/local Church should be ordered according to the word of God. This includes having Elders and Deacons for the good order of the Church. The Elders are responsible for the spiritual well-being of the Church as the Deacons are responsible for the physical well-being of the Church (1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 5:17-19).


Last Things

Jesus Christ will come again in His resurrected body to judge the world in righteousness. On that day both the fallen angels and all of mankind will be called to give an account of their lives (thoughts, words, deeds, etc.). Those fallen angels and those people who have not put their faith in Jesus Christ will be judged as guilty and sent to Hell for an eternity of suffering. Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ will be judged as righteous for His righteousness, innocent of their sins because of His payment for their sins on the cross, and ushered into Heaven for an eternity of life and peace with their Lord.