The Holy Trinity
We believe that the one God exists as three persons relating. The Father, the source of all life, shares His life, begetting the Son, and His life as the Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son. The three are united in substance, equal in the sense of being God, and are distinct in their personhood.
The Bible is the word of God, written by holy men of old as they were enabled to communicate God's truth without error. We therefore believe that the scripture is infallible and inerrant in its original autographs. The scripture is our rule of faith, and a revelation of God Himself. Written over a period of 1500 years by as many as 40 authors, the scripture is authoritative in matters of faith, doctrine, and practice.
God created man in His image, with the ability to relate to God in freedom, as immortal, spiritual beings. Man's original state was one of holiness. After the fall, man became a corrupt expression of God's image. Because of the corruption of our nature, man is incapable of any positive move toward God, except through the work of divine grace. Only through the justifying, regenerating, sanctifying grace of God can we be saved from the pervasive corruption of sin, and be conformed to the image of God.
Salvation is the process by which God forgives sin, renews man to quicken a soul dead in trespasses and sin, and draws a soul to sanctification. Full salvation indicates a full redemption from all the effects of sin. Guilt, separation, death, and depravity all must be dealt with in salvation. Thus, the work of Christ is sufficient for all our needs. This salvation is grounded in the love of God, provided by the atoning work of Christ, and applied by the active work of the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification is a process beginning with initial sanctification, occurring at the new birth. It is at this time that the believer receives the Spirit and is changed. God initiates a second stage in the sanctification process, bringing the fully committed Christian to a complete consecration. As Wesley said, “The more alive to God a Christian is, the more dead to sin he becomes.” Thus, when a believer is fully consecrated, and trusts God for His promise of cleansing, the Holy Spirit fills the heart, cleanses from carnality and sin, and empowers for service.
The Christian Church was founded by Christ on the day of Pentecost. By the infilling of the Spirit, the followers of Christ become the Body of Christ. Being called out from the world to fellowship with Christ, the Church is a unique organism. It is universal, being made up of true believers of all nations, and it is holy, belonging to God.
The Priesthood of all Believers
Through the presence of the Holy Spirit every Christian not only represents God, but also has been empowered to be an instrument of His grace to the world. The responsibility of witnessing, the ministry of prayer, and the use of our spiritual gifts are included in the privilege of being His priests.
The Christian Life
Once a believer experiences new life in Christ, he strives to live a life holy and acceptable to God. The Christian life is a daily, disciplined walk with God. We believe the means of grace--prayer, Bible study, meditation, corporate worship, and fellowship-- are all necessary for Christian growth.
We believe and teach that salvation is a relationship based on freedom. In order to love and trust Christ, we must be free to do so. The atonement provided through Christ was provided for all men, yet God calls us to turn to Him, trust Him, and walk with Him.
We recognize two sacraments, Baptism and Communion. Baptism is a testimony to the inner work of salvation. Whether by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring, baptism itself does not save, but is a reflection of salvation as a cleansing of sin. Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is a celebration of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf. Communion is open to all who believe and not to members only.
God created man to know Him intimately. Originally, God breathed into man His own breath, or life. Man, after the fall, was deprived of the Spirit, or life of God. Salvation is the re-breathing of that life into the soul of man. That life, the very breath of God, is the basis of what the scripture means by eternal life (John 17:3). Knowing God in an intimate sense is to experience His life and therefore can be experienced in this life. Eternal life continues in heaven as we experience God in a new way - face to face. Eternal life, therefore, starts now and continues in eternity forever.
The Second Coming of Christ
We believe that the culmination of human history is designed by God and will occur according to His timing. Christ will rapture His faithful in the twinkling of an eye, after which the anti-christ will be revealed, and the wrath of God poured out upon the earth. After seven years of tribulation, Christ is revealed in His glory and comes to reign for one thousand years on the earth. After this millennial reign, the earth will be destroyed, and a new heaven and new earth will be provided for the faithful to live in the presence of God forever.
The Resurrection of the Dead
The Bible teaches that there are two resurrections. The first, the resurrection of the saved, will occur at the pre-tribulation rapture, when the dead in Christ rise first, and those who remain are changed in an instant, escaping death, and meet Him in the air. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the dead, occurs after the millennial reign of Christ, at which time they will be judged according to their works, and condemned to the lake of fire forever.