We believe that God has spoken in the sixty-six books of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments (hereinafter referred to as “Bible” or “Scripture”), through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged.
We believe that although God may give individual believers guidance in various ways, we reject the teaching that implies that individuals can receive “words from God” that have the same authority as Scripture. Therefore, the Bible alone is to be believed in all that it teaches; obeyed in all that it requires; and trusted in all that it promises. (Psalm 19:7–11; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21)
We believe in one God, who directly and immediately created all things, and who is holy and infinitely perfect; in whom all things have their source, support, and end. He exists eternally in a loving tri-unity (trinity) of three equally divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 5:3–4; Hebrews 1:1-3, 8)
Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity past to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory. Since He is not limited in knowledge or power by any external forces or the will of His creatures, what He purposes will come to pass. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 32:3–4; John 17:3; Acts 17:28; Ephesians 1:3–5; 3:7–13; Revelation 4:11)
- God the Father: Although God the Father shares the same essence with God the Son and God the Spirit, He is to be distinguished from the two other members of the Trinity. The Father is not begotten nor is He the One who was crucified. He is frequently spoken of as “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thanks to His choice in adopting us, He is also our Father, and we are described as His children. Hence, Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.” The Father is the one who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and chose us to be His from before the foundation of the world. The Father loved the world and gave His Son on our behalf. (Matthew 6:9; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3) Although the Fatherhood of God finds its clearest expression in the New Testament, this filial relationship was already known to the faithful in Old Testament times. For example, David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah refer to the intimacy of the Father/Son relationship. (Psalm 103:13, 14; Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 3:19) In Christ, the Father was propitiated; that is, His anger against sin was turned away from us. Thus, both His love for us and His holy anger against sin found expression in and were fully satisfied through the work of Christ on the cross. Thus, we affirm that our God is our Redeemer.
- God the Son: We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person with two natures. Although Jesus Christ, who is Israel’s promised Messiah, existed from eternity past, He was conceived in human flesh through the Holy Spirit and born of Mary who was a virgin. He lived a sinless life, was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1; Ephesians 1:15–23; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; Hebrews 1:8)
We believe that Jesus Christ honored God’s law as expressed in both the Old Testament and New Testament by His personal obedience and substitutionary death on the cross for sinners. He is the one Mediator between God and man, fully God and fully man, being the only One in whose person God and man can be reconciled. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and consummate His redemptive mission. To Him we gladly give our obedience and worship, being deeply grateful for His grace toward us while we were yet sinners. (John 14:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 2:5–6)
- God the Holy Spirit: We believe that the Holy Spirit exists as a co-equal and co-eternal Person within the Trinity and as such is fully divine. We believe that He glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father in all that He does. He convicts the unconverted of their sin and regenerates all who believe; and in Him all believers are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. By the Holy Spirit the Godhead now indwells all believers. He also illuminates, guides, equips, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. (John 7:38–40; 16:7–11; Acts 1:8; 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 5:16–18) We believe that the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to the church for the edification of the body of Christ. These gifts of service are intended to display both the diversity and unity of the one body in its mutual edification and ministry. We believe sign gifts (such as speaking in tongues) are not required as proof of the filling or baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. Rather, the Holy Spirit never departs from a believer and is ever present to testify of Christ, bringing about the fruit of the Spirit. His presence in the life of believers is the guarantee that God will bring us safely into heaven where we will enter fully into the inheritance that awaits us. (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13–14)
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image as male and female, thus the gift of two different yet complementary sexes reflects the goodness of God’s creation. However, because Adam and Eve voluntarily rebelled, as their descendants we are born under the condemnation of sin and also inherit a sin nature. Therefore, sin has affected the whole of our being, leaving us morally and spiritually “dead in [our] trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, renewed, and reconciled to God. (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3)
Since humanity is the crowning work of God’s creation, each human being is created in His image, is sacred, and is worthy of respect and Christian love. This respect must be accorded to all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. (Psalm 139:13–16; Revelation 5:9–10)
We believe that salvation involves the redemption of the entire person—body, soul, and spirit—and is offered freely to all who, having been called by God, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The moment we trust Him as Savior, we pass from death unto life, accepted by the Father according to the measure of Christ’s acceptance, and loved even as He is loved. As our representative and substitute, we believe that He shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for our salvation. We rejoice that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). (Acts 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Peter 3:18)
We believe this salvation is a gift of God’s grace, appropriated through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith is a gift of divine grace, and is not simply knowledge of Jesus Christ, but is an act of personal trust accompanied by the miracles of regeneration and justification, leading to sanctification and glorification.
We believe that regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart brought about by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin and is accompanied by repentance and faith in Christ, resulting in a new nature within us. (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:4–7)
We believe that justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of the sins of all who are regenerated. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the regenerate, and God declares them to be entirely righteous, bringing them into a relationship of peace and favor with Himself. (Romans 3:19–26; 5:1; Galatians 3:10–14)
We believe that sanctification is the process by which God sets believers apart for His own purposes, that they might progress toward spiritual maturity by the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 4:3)
We believe that glorification is the culmination of salvation and will be the final blessed and abiding state of all who have been redeemed. (Romans 8:17, 30; 2 Thessalonians 1:10)
We believe that all angels were created by God but that a part of their number fell into sin under the leadership of Satan, who in his original rebellion against God is the cause of sin in the universe. Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve resulted in their disobedience and fall into sin. Satan and his hosts are declared enemies of God and man, and will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. Satan, though irredeemably evil, is nevertheless subject to God and His eternal plan. (Genesis 3:15; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:10)
The holy angels are preserved from sinning by a divine decree and exist to serve God according to His good pleasure. They also glorify God in their obedience and service to believers, and they will eventually be used by God to judge the wicked. (1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 7:1–3)
The church, which had its special beginning on the day of Pentecost, is comprised of all who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, of which He is the head. The true church is manifest in local churches whose membership should be comprised only of believers.(Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8; 2:43; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:20–23)
The Lord Jesus Christ instituted the ordinances of baptism and communion, which tangibly and symbolically express the Gospel. Although these ordinances are not the means of salvation and do not confer special grace, when they are celebrated by the church in genuine faith, they do confirm and nourish the church, the body of Christ. (Matthew 26:26–29; 28:18–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26)
In obedience to Christ’s command, we urge every believer upon profession of faith to joyfully follow our Lord’s instructions and be baptized “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We encourage those who were baptized as infants to follow in believer’s baptism as a testimony of their own personal faith in Christ. We desire to follow the pattern of the New Testament in which conversion was followed by baptism by immersion.
We believe that God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring this present era to a close. According to His promise, our Lord Jesus Christ will return imminently, personally, and bodily for His church and also for the establishment of His kingdom on earth. For believers, His coming is their blessed hope and demands constant expectancy, holy living, and sacrificial service. (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Titus 2:11–14; 2 Peter 3:8–14)
When the future millennial kingdom is established, the national promises given to Abraham will be fulfilled and Israel shall be restored to the glory predicted in the Scriptures, with Christ ruling from Jerusalem. As expressed in Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 2:2–5; Jeremiah 31:35–37; Zechariah 14:1–5; Luke 1:30–33; Acts 1:6–7; Romans 11:25–27; Galatians 3:9, 14, 23–29)
The Church believes and teaches that the premillennial return of Christ to establish His earthly reign is an important doctrine of eschatology. All who teach and preach in the Church are expected to do so consistent with this interpretation of end-time events. However, those with a different understanding of the coming kingdom are permitted to join our membership.
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the Gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning unbelievers to condemnation with eternal conscious punishment and believers to eternal joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will forever celebrate the justice of God and His loving mercy to the praise of His glorious grace. (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 15:1–4; 20:11–15)
We believe that all believers who die are immediately conscious in the presence of the Lord, although their bodies will be resurrected at the second coming of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:1–10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18) Unbelievers who die are conscious in Hades and will eventually be resurrected to face the Great White Throne judgment and eternal punishment in the lake of fire. (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:11–15)
Role of a Deacon
Deacons are model servants appointed to a local church office. They are deployed to assist the pastors or elders by protecting church unity, organizing practical service, and meeting tangible needs.
In a general sense, every Christian is called to be a deacon (the New Testament word diakonos simply means “servant”). But the designation is not always generic; it is also a formal church office. Deacons—rightly defined and deployed—are an irreplaceable gift to Christ’s people. They are model servants who excel in being attentive and responsive to tangible needs in the life of a church. In what ways do they serve? By assisting the elders, guarding the ministry of the word, organizing service, caring for the needy, protecting unity, mobilizing ministry, and more.
A church without effective deacons may exhibit signs of health for a while, but over time its health will suffer. We rob ourselves of the benefits of God’s revealed wisdom when we either unduly elevate the role of deacons (say, to pseudo-elders) or unduly reduce their role (say, to glorified janitors). Biblically understood, deacons are a cavalry of servants, deputized to execute the elders’ vision by coordinating various ministries. When deacons flourish, the whole congregation wins.
The word evokes vastly different feelings. For some, “deacons” is a bit nostalgic, perhaps a throwback to their childhood church. For others, it’s beautiful; the word brings beloved faces to mind—specific servants laboring for the welfare of Christ’s church. Yet for too many it’s a painful word. How many times has the work of a church been hindered and harmed by those called to be its most exemplary servants?
And how many times has “deacon” become a biblical misnomer, with well-meaning churches installing them for the wrong purpose? In such cases, the deacons may be faithful, but they are not really deacons; they function more like what Scripture calls “elders.”
In a general sense, of course, every Christian is called to be a deacon (the New Testament word diakonos simply means “servant”). Indeed, believers are those who walk in the footsteps of the ultimate deacon, the suffering servant who “came not to be deaconed but to deacon, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Reference: Deacons by Matt Smethurst, Crossway Publishing, 2021
Section F: Deacons
There shall be a minimum of 24 Deacons who meet the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:8–13. The number of Deacons above that minimum may vary from time to time as fixed by resolution of the Leadership Council. Deacons shall be elected for a term of three years, so long as they continue as members of the Church in good standing, and will be eligible for re-election when their term expires. Approximately one-third of the Deacon positions shall be up for election each year. The term of newly-elected Deacons may be varied by the Leadership Council between one and three years if necessary to satisfy the one-third requirement. Deacons shall serve on the Leadership Council and standing subcommittees as assigned by the Assignment Committee, as well as any other duties assigned to them by the Elders or the Leadership Council.
Section H: Deaconesses
There shall be a minimum of 12 Deaconesses who meet the qualifications as set forth in Titus 2:3–5. The number of Deaconesses above that minimum may vary from time to time as fixed by resolution of the Elders. The Director of Women’s Ministries (or equivalent future title) is appointed by the Elders (see Article 5.B.4(a)(5)) and shall be a Deaconess in addition to her other assigned responsibilities. All other Deaconesses shall be elected by the membership for a term of three years, so long as they continue as members of the Church in good standing. Deaconesses will be eligible for re-election when their term expires. Approximately one-third of the Deaconess positions shall be up for election each year. The term of newly-elected Deaconesses may be varied by the Leadership Council between one and three years if necessary to satisfy the one-third requirement.