Statement of Faith Expanded

STATEMENT OF FAITH ELABORATED

Note: Only the numbered statements in bold font are part of the official statement of faith. The explanatory points in regular font are an interpretation given by Pastor Ron Stone and do not constitute part of the official statement of faith.

1. We believe in the Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which is the verbally inspired word of God and inerrant in the original manuscripts. 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2Timothy 3:16
God is the author of the Bible from beginning to end.
All the contents of Scripture are inspired by God as they were originally written - we can't challenge the authority of even one verse. (Red letters are not more inspired than the black. All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training).
God used human writers allowing each individual's unique writing style to be seen in the Scripture. But the words all had their origin in the heart of God, never in the mind of man. Man wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
The Holy Spirit supervised the writing to ensure there were no errors in the original writing (inerrancy). Meaning that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible, in its original form and correctly interpreted, is entirely true and never false in anything that it declares.
Therefore the Bible is the word of God, it is trustworthy and it is the highest authority on all matters with which it deals, not only in all subjects of faith and morality but in everything it affirms, including what it teaches about history, chronology and science.

2. We believe in the existence of One True God who is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Matt. 28:19; 2Cor. 13:14
We worship one God, not three Gods. Jesus is God’s supreme self-revelation to mankind (Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:1-3). We emphasize the Deity of Jesus; He is no less God than the Father. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Col. 2:9. Nevertheless, we also recognize that this one true God has revealed himself to mankind as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each is distinct from the other and yet all are equally one and the same God, (Mt. 3:16-17; Jn. 1:1, 2; Jn. 14:8-10). A balanced theology does not elevate one member of the Godhead above any other.
This paradox is a mystery. No man can fully understand let alone explain God’s nature. There is nothing else in creation to compare his nature with. He is unique. We must not try to limit an infinite God to that which our finite human minds can understand.

3. We believe in the savior of men, the Lord Jesus Christ, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, very God and very man.
Jesus was not a lesser God than the Father; he was fully God (Col. 2:9). But at the same time he is just as fully human as you and I, yet without sin. Again this paradox is a mystery that we cannot compare with anything else in creation.

4. We believe in the creation, test and fall of man, as recorded in Genesis; his total spiritual depravity and inability to attain to divine righteousness.
The biblical creation record is factual, historical, clearly expressed and easily understood. Therefore the universe and everything in it were created and made by God in the six literal days of creation described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and affirmed in Exodus 20:8-11.
The days of creation in Genesis do not refer to long geologic ages, but are six consecutive twenty-four hour days of supernatural creative activity by God. According to the biblical record the origin of mankind and the whole universe began approximately 6,000 years ago. All theories of origins or development that involve evolution or long ages of time are incompatible with the biblical record.
God originally created man and woman as perfect human beings. However, man's original perfect condition was corrupted by the sin of the first man when he was led astray from God's word by the deception of Satan and chose to eat what was forbidden. As a result, they fell from their original innocence, were separated from communion with God and brought upon themselves and all human offspring corruption, guilt, death, and condemnation.
Therefore all humans are thus born corrupt by nature, enslaved to sin, and morally unable to do anything to please God, to save ourselves, or even to contribute to our salvation from this condition.

5. We believe in the Gospel of the Grace of God, how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day for our justification.
Christ’s life, death and physical resurrection is a literal, historical fact and it accomplished for man the only way of salvation and peace with God. (1 Co. 15:1-5)

6. We believe in the salvation of sinners by Grace, through faith alone in the perfect and sufficient work of Christ on our behalf upon the cross of Calvary excluding all human merit.
Grace is an undeserved (unearned) gift from God. We all deserved hell, but God offered us salvation. Salvation comes to us through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Our good works contribute nothing to our salvation. Salvation comes by simply believing and accepting God’s gift freely offered.
“Excluding all human merit;” meaning we contribute nothing to our salvation. We didn’t even take initiative in choosing Him; He first chose us and opened our eyes that we could respond. (Jn 15:16)

7. We believe in water Baptism of believers by immersion as a symbol of one’s union by faith with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection. Matt. 28:19; Acts 8:34-39.
“Of believers”- (not infants) - water baptism does not save you. It demonstrates what has already happened in your life when you did experience salvation.
Water baptism symbolizes the fact that I have identified myself with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. At salvation my old sin nature (the old man) was crucified with Christ. I was buried with Christ, symbolized by being submerged under water. And Christ gave me a new nature (a new spirit) and He also gave me his Life by placing his Spirit in me and I was raised to new life (born again) with Christ, symbolized by being raised up out of the water. (Rom. 6)
We believe baptism should be by “immersion” - not sprinkling.
8. We believe in the church, composed of all believers in Jesus, united in Christ by faith and voluntarily joined together for worship, fellowship, instruction in the Word, prayer and evangelism. Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor. 1212-27; Acts 2:42-47
It is not mere affiliation with an organization or even with a creed that makes one part of the church, but rather spiritual birth into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ demonstrated to be genuine by the fruit of the Spirit manifest in the lives of its members.

9. We believe in the present day reality of the baptism in the Holy Spirit available to all believers according to Acts 2:4, Acts 2:38, 39, Acts 8:14-17.
We believe that this is an experience subsequent to salvation. (I.e., Ac 8:14-17; 19:5-6) However it can also occur simultaneously with salvation. (i.e., Ac 10:43-48)
At the moment of salvation all believers receive the Holy Spirit within their spirit. But baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate ministry of the same Holy Spirit in which He empowers the believer for effective witness. (Ac 1:8; see also the example of Jesus who already had the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him before the Holy Spirit came upon Him (Mk. 1:10) just prior to beginning His ministry (Mk. 1:13).
We believe that the examples recorded in Scripture (Ac 2:4; 10:46; 19:6) imply that speaking supernaturally in an unlearned language (tongues) was the common “initial” experience of the early church when they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we believe that there is no reason why speaking in tongues should not be expected still today as a common “initial” sign that one has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Although we see tongues as a biblical pattern there is nothing in Scripture that says it is the rule. Nothing in the Bible restricts God from making exceptions to this norm.
Therefore if a person has never spoken in tongues we believe that it is wrong to assume that they have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not to speak in tongues, but to provide supernatural power to witness. Therefore the ultimate evidence that one has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit is this power for witness. Ac 1:8.

10. We believe in the Spirit-filled life, a life of separation from the world and the perfection of holiness in the fear of God as an expression of Christian faith. Gal. 5:16-26
The Christian life is meant to be lived in victory over sin. But this can only happen as we yield our lives to the control of the Holy Spirit. The believer can no more live the Christian life out of his own efforts than he can be saved through his own efforts. The Christian life is only possible when we allow Christ in us to live His life through us, which will be Christ-like in its expression.

11. We believe in the gifts of the Spirit as enumerated in 1 Corinthians, being exercised and practiced as manifest in the early Church. 1 Cor. 12:4-11
We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible, and that they are valid for today if they are exercised within the scriptural guidelines. We do not believe that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit ended with the Apostles.
We encourage the exercise of all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but always decently and in order, and with the primary emphasis on the Word of God which we look to as our primary rule of faith. 1 Cor. 14
We believe that Christian love is more important than the most spectacular gifts, and without this love all exercise of spiritual gifts is worthless or even harmful. 1 Cor 13

12. We believe in the Lord’s Supper, as a memorial for believers. Matt. 26:26-30, 1Cor. 11:23-34
The Lord’s Supper (Communion) has no saving benefit to those who partake. Like water baptism only those who are already saved should ever participate.
We do not believe that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Jesus (as does Catholic doctrine). The bread and wine are merely symbolic tokens. But they are nevertheless very important and the Lord has commanded us to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

13. We believe in the healing of the body by Divine power or Divine Healing in many aspects as practiced by the early Church. Acts 4:30; 1 Cor. 12:9 & 28; James 5:13-16
Some have the gift of healing. (1 Cor 12:9) But all of us in Christ have the right to pray for divine healing whether we have the gift or not. (James 5:16) Church elders especially have authority and responsibility to pray for healing. (James 5:14)

14. We believe in the eternal life of the believer and the everlasting punishment of the unbeliever. John 3:16; 2 Thes. 1:7-10.
Heaven and hell are literal places.
Our future destiny is entirely on the basis of whether or not we, by faith, accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Our future destiny is not determined at all by our behavior, but entirely by our identity as either a child of God or not a child of God. Only a child of God can enter heaven, all others will suffer forever in hell.

15. We believe in the reality and ministry of holy angels. Heb. 1:4-7, 14
Angels are not to be worshiped nor prayed to. They are messengers of God to minister unto mankind.

16. We believe in the reality and personality of Satan and demons. 1Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:12; 1Tim. 4:1.
They are created beings far less in power and ability than God. They were created as angels but fell to their present state through rebellion against God.
The believer is not to fear them nor be preoccupied with thinking of them.

17. We believe in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ for his Church. John 14:1-6; 1Thes. 4:15-17
We believe the Lord will return and take His church up to heaven in an event known as
the rapture, which may occur before the period of great tribulation described in Revelation 6-18. However we do not place emphasis on the timing of the rapture as Jesus repeatedly warned against this, for no one know the timing of His return (Mt. 24:44; Mk. 13:32; Ac. 1:7, etc.).
We believe that Jesus Christ will physically and visibly return to this earth with his saints to judge the wicked and to rule the world for a thousand years as King. This second-coming will culminate and bring to an end the Great Tribulation (Rev. 19-20).
18. We believe in the sanctity of marriage, as a life long exclusive commitment between one man and one woman. Gen. 2:24; Matt 19:3-9; Heb. 13:4
Marriage is not the product of culture or the creation of man but is designed by God to reflect and portray the ultimate relationship between Jesus Christ as the groom and His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:22-32). Therefore marriage cannot be tampered with by man without distorting and perverting God’s intent and purpose for marriage.

We exist to joyfully exalt Jesus above all else, and to glorify His name in all the earth.