"Watch your life and doctrine closely"

- 1 Timothy 4:16

Our Purpose

 

We believe and teach that our purpose is to glorify God. We desire to accomplish this by loving and obeying our Heavenly Father, delighting in Him as we serve Him joyfully by the power of His Holy Spirit in the name of His Son Jesus.

 

(Psalm 2; Isaiah 48:9-11; Ezekiel 20:44; 36:22-32; John 15:11; Romans 7:22; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 2:10-11; 1 Peter 4:11)
 

Scripture

 

We believe and teach that the Old and New Testaments (the sixty-six books of the Protestant Canon) are the revelation of God and thus constitute the Word of God. Men, chosen by God, wrote the Bible under the superintendence and enabling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, every word of the original autographs was God-breathed and without error. Consequently the whole of Scripture is the authority for the whole of life for every believer, i.e. it alone is our infallible rule for faith and all practice.We believe and teach that the Scriptures are sufficient and entirely adequate for addressing every emotional or spiritual problem. We also believe that the Scripture is the complete, adequate and present voice of Christ by which He communicates through His people to His people by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, no current prophetic word, speaking that which is not already in the Scripture, is necessary for Christ to communicate His will to His people.In interpreting Scripture we use the literal-grammatical-historical method of interpretation, i.e. what was the author’s intent for the original audience.

 

(Deuteronomy 32:44-47; Psalms 19:7-14; Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 4:4; 5:17-19; John 10:35; II Timothy 3:16,17; I Peter 1:10-12; II Peter 1:3,4,20,21; Hebrews 4:12,13; 3:7)

The God of the Scriptures

 

We believe and teach that there is but one true, eternally existing God. This unique God is Triune, being one in essence (Deuteronomy 6:4), and yet existing, ever and always, in three Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19). Functional subordination within the Trinity never stand opposed to the full Deity that each of the Persons possesses.

God the Father

We believe and 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; 15:6; 145:8-9; Proverbs 21:1; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

 

He is limitless in His knowledge and sovereign in His power. As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; 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 (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18).

 

In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (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) yet without abridging the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (Romans 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; Galatians 4:5).

 

In view of His attributes of greatness (i.e., His self-existence, infinitude, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability and incomprehensibility), He is transcendent in Being (Psalm 113:1-5; Isaiah 57:15a). However, from the perspective of His qualities of goodness (i.e., qualities including justice, grace, love, beneficence, restraint, mercy, and faithfulness), He is genuinely immanent or intimately involved with all His creatures, especially His chosen people (Psalm 113:6-9; Isaiah 40:27-31, 57:15b).

God the Son

We believe and teach that the second Person of the Godhead is eternally of the same essence of Being as the Father (John 10:30, 14:9). 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 prerogatives during the First Advent - the incarnation (John 1:14). His incarnation was initiated by the Virgin Birth or Miraculous Conception in which He took upon Himself genuine humanity (Hebrews 2:9-18). He thereby became the unique God-man who consequently is the perfect Revealer, Savior, Mediator, and ultimately the Judge of all men (cf. respectively, John 1:18; Titus 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 5:27). 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 (cf. respectively, Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Romans 6:1-11; Romans 1:4, 4:25; 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; Acts 4:12; Luke 1:33; John 14:6).

 

We believe and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled His priestly office by offering Himself a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 5:7-10, 7:27) truly (i.e., actually, not potentially) accomplishing our redemption and reconciliation (Luke 1:68; Revelation 5:9) through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross. His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25, 5:8; 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).

 

Today our Lord is building His Church (Matthew 16:18) and continually ministers to her as the heavenly Advocate interceding for the saints (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). He will return for His bride in glory (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and will adjudicate the reward and retribution of all people (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15).

God the Spirit

We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, is equal in nature with God the Father and God the Son (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 18; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

 

His divine personhood is attested by many references to His attributes of greatness and goodness. In His role within the economy of the Trinity, He bears divine witness to the Person and work of Christ in this age (John 15:26). In His relationship to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is their divine author, illuminator and enabler (2 Samuel 23:2; John 14:25-26, 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Ephesians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:21).

 

He is the divine Agent in the execution of the Father's plan of salvation through the work of the Son (John 3:1-10; 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit has always been active in regeneration and renewal, i.e., in personal salvation and sanctification in both the Old and New Testament eras. He is essential to our adoption, sealing and service (Romans 8:12-17; Ephesians 1:13, 5:18). Historically, the Spirit was intimately involved in the Church's birth at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). In this present age, all genuine disciples permanently possess the full indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation as a spiritual grace of the New Covenant (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14). It is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The Holy Spirit also sanctifies, fills, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Acts 4:31; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13; 1 John 2:20, 27).

 

We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the Church.

 

He glorifies 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; 2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit bestows gifts as He wills for the purpose of mutual edification and the perfecting of the saints (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:6-9).

Creation, Preservation and Providence

 

We believe and teach that the Triune-God created out of nothing the physical universe and all that it contains in six literal days (Genesis 1:1-31; Exodus 20:11; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3). He also sustains for His own purposes the whole of that which He has created (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).

 

We also believe and teach the sovereign providence of God (Psalms 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 (Daniel 2:20-21), the circumstances of life (James 4:13-15), duration of life (Job 14:5), manner of death (John 21:18-19), helpful acts of men (Isaiah 44:28-45:7), harmful acts of men (Genesis 45:4-8, 50:20; Acts 4:27-28), salvation of sinners (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14), the greatest world events (Revelation 13:8), seemingly trivial circumstances (Proverbs 16:33; Matthew 10:29-30), etc. These truths, however, never nullify the responsibilities of created, moral beings (Acts 2:22-23).

Angels

 

We believe and teach the existence of angels who were apparently the first issue of God's creation (cf. Job 38:1-7 with Genesis 1:1; 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, someday redeemed people will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

 

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).

 

There also seems to be various hierarchies of angels; for example, archangels (cf. Michael, Jude 9), special attendants (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:2,6), and various designations (Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:10; l Peter 3:22). At the head of all fallen angels stands Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1; 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 roaming (Matthew 12:24, 25:41; 1 Peter 5:8; Jude 6; Revelation 9:1-11). He then became the subtle instigator of mankind's fall (Genesis 3; Romans 16:20) Currently he roams the earth, but his ultimate end is guaranteed by the finished work of Christ (1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:10).

 

Although believers are in union with Christ, we are not to be presumptuous so as to seek to engage the Archenemy and his host (Jude 9). Our call is to be aware of his various methods as an accuser, father of lies, murderer and angel of light(2 Corinthians 2:11), stand defensively in the provisions of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and resist, not charge, him (James 4:7).Angels are not omniscient (1 Peter 1:12) and are not to be worshipped (Colossians 2:18; Hebrews 1:1-6; Revelation 22:9)

The Condition of Mankind

 

We believe and teach that man is a direct product of the creative handiwork of God (Genesis 2:7). 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 believe and teach that 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).

 

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.

 

Man's depravity (i.e., corrupted sinful nature) is total in breadth (1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 1:2-6, 53:6; Romans 3:9-20) and depth (Ecclesiastes 9:3b; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:14-23). By this we mean that all the faculties of man's heart, i.e., rational, volitional, emotional, etc., are morally tainted by sin and perversity (Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ephesians 4:17-19) leaving mankind utterly hopeless and helpless in reference to any kind of human reformation or rescue - he cannot save himself (Isaiah 64:5-7; Jeremiah 13:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-9; Colossians 1:21-22). These realities are not only crucial for an accurate theology but also for a biblically acceptable methodology for ministry (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

 

The reality of the image and likeness of God indicates that man, via his original creation, resembles God in certain characteristics and capacities which are necessary for relationships with God and fellow man and also for mankind's exercise of dominion over the rest of the earth. 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).

 

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

The Role of Men and Women

 

Both Adam and Eve were created in God's image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18).

 

Distinctions in the roles of men and women are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 1 Timothy 2:12-14).

 

Adam's headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Genesis 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9).The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Genesis 3:1-7, 12, 16). In the home, the husband's loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife's intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility. In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.

 

The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18; Galatians 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:11-15).

 

Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse. In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands' authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands' leadership (Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7). In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 1 Timothy 2:11-15).

 

In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Daniel 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Peter 3:1-2).In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Timothy 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God's will.

Salvation

 

We believe and teach that the salvation of sinful men has always ultimately depended upon the sovereign grace of God. 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). This great truth, however, never nullifies or diminishes the sinner's responsibility to respond nor the servant's responsibility to communicate (Romans 10:8-15).

God's sovereign plan of salvation was divinely drafted in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8), including all of its provisions (the work of Christ and the Spirit) and processes (Titus 3:3-7). His grace stands behind all the stages of salvation, i.e., 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. "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy,..." (Titus 3:5). Some vital constituents of His salvation plan include:

Election

We believe and teach that election is the gracious 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 (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).

 

We believe and teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36, 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). 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; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).

 

We believe and teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is unconditional, i.e., 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; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).

Regeneration

We believe and teach that regeneration (i.e., the new birth) is a gracious supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24). The new birth results in the believer's union with Christ (Colossians 2:13) in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:1-11), thus receiving the spiritual graces of the New Covenant (i.e., reconciliation, peace with God, a new heart, new affections, and deliverance from the dominating power of sin etc.,) (Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Romans 2:28-29, 5:1, 6:5-7, 11, 14; Colossians 2:11-12).

 

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 its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This grace-empowered obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Romans 8:17; Philippians 1:6; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).

Justification

We believe and teach that justification before God is a gracious 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 placing of our sins on Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us (Romans 4:25; 5:15-16; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:6). By this God is shown to be both “just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

Sanctification

We believe and teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and 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 or experiential condition (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 believe and teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state (i.e., practice) of the believer is brought closer to the standing he positionally enjoys through justification. This sanctification is an effect of the love of God manifested in the soul, whereby through the gracious empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is enabled to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (c.f. "regeneration") (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23). In this respect, we teach 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. Eradication of sin i not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:8-9; 3:5-9).

Assurance

We believe and teach that assurance of salvation is available to oneself and others (2 Corinthians 13:5-6). The basis for assurance the fruit of the Spirit as noted above and the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit (8:16)

Perserverence

We believe and teach the biblical doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. This doctrine has two parts: (1) 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; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6). Thus no true child of God, born of the Holy Spirit, will ever be lost (Romans 8:29-30). (2) It is equally true, however, that no person will be saved without persevering to the end. 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, 12:14). The means God uses to bring about our perseverance are His magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:3-4), His terrifying warnings (Hebrews 10:26ff) and the church (Ephesians 4).

The Church

 

We believe and teach that in the current era, commencing at Pentecost (Acts 2), Christ is building His Church (Matthew 16:18). All who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into this one united spiritual body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Church, of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18), is variously depicted as His Body (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13), His Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2), a building, spiritual house, or sanctuary (1 Corinthians 3:9, 16-17, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20-22; Colossians 2:7; 1 Peter 2:5), branches of which He is the life source (John 15:1-8), the flock of the Shepherd (John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25), etc. The Church exists both universally (i.e., the total number of genuine disciples throughout Church history) and locally (i.e., historically in localized assemblies). This, however, does not mean that all in the local Church who profess to be Christians are indeed Christians and part of the Church (Matthew 7: 21-23).

 

Though salvation is granted and responded to individually, the scriptural focus is always upon the corporate Body within which the individual is to be a complementary, contributing member (Romans 12:3-8; l Corinthians 12:4-27). Christ establishes and oversees this unity and diversity in order that the local church might become the main context for worship and service, and a springboard for evangelism (Ephesians 4:1-16). The primary overarching purpose of the Church, whether viewed from the local perspective or the universal, is to glorify God (Ephesians 1:3-14, 3:21; 1 Peter 4:11).

 

The Scriptures establish two categories of office within the Church: Elders (also designated overseers or bishops, and pastor-teachers), and Deacons to lead and serve the flock under Christ (Philippians 1:1). Those who serve in these capacities must be qualified biblically (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). The elders-overseers-pastor-teachers who have been given a divinely delegated authority are especially accountable for the spiritual welfare of their Master's flock. He will judge not only them and their guidance of His sheep but also the flock's expected submission to their spiritual direction (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

 

Within the context of its assembled fellowship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:19, 23, 28-35; Hebrews 10:24-25) the primary ordinances of believers' baptism (Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 6:1-14) and the Lord's Supper (i.e., Communion, breaking of bread) (1 Corinthians 10:14-22, 11:17-34) are to be perpetuated. 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). The Lord's Supper calls our attention to the atonement of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). This worship service is one in which we look back to the finished work of Christ and also forward to the consummation of our redemption (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-30; 2 Peter 2:3-13). We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual Communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).

Last Things (Eschatology)

 

We believe and teach that the study of eschatology is to have primarily an ethical effect on the people of God (1 John 2:28-3:3; 2 Peter 3:10-14). This effect is manifested in a heart that longs for the appearance of our blessed hope (Titus 2:13), a spirit that seeks to encourage the brethren with these truths (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), and holy lives that reflect the values of the knowledge that this present world is passing away and will give way to eternity (2 Peter 3:11-14).

We believe and teach that personal conscious being is not interrupted by physical death (Luke 16:19-31). For the believer his soul/spirit is ushered immediately into the presence of Christ at physical death (2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:23). The souls/spirits of the unregenerate at physical death also continue, but in conscious torment until the Day of judgment (Revelation 20:13-15). All men will experience a bodily resurrection, the saved to eternal life and overwhelming joy, and the unsaved to eternal separation and everlasting conscious punishment (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:19-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-11).

We believe and teach that the Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Acts 1:11). His second coming is presented in the New Testament as being near or imminent, although its timing is unknown to men (Mark 13:33-37; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).

In the final state, saints will dwell in the Holy City, the new Jerusalem serving the Lord in the very presence of the throne of God and of the Lamb. There will be no more curse and no more night. The glory of God will give it light and the Lamb will be its lamp (Revelation 21-22:5)

© 2016 by Grace Church of Santa Rosa.