What We Believe

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For a downloadable and printable version of the following Statement of Beliefs, click here.

God

We believe in one God,[1] sovereign and existing in three persons: The Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit, each being fully and equally God and eternal, not created.[2]

God depends on nothing but his own nature for his existence.[3] All other things that exist depend on him for their existence.[4] He is all-knowing,[5] all-powerful,[6] all-loving,[7] and present everywhere, and is sovereignly in control of all things.[8]

God is holy, which means that he is unique and entirely separate from all else that exists,[9] and this includes moral perfection.[10]

All this means that God is passionately involved in human history, especially in his calling of all people to himself through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ (see below).

The Bible

The sixty-six books of the traditional Protestant Bible are the verbally inspired Word of God, written through human authors under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.[11] This divine inspiration applies fully to every word that the human authors wrote, and because of it the Bible is fully trustworthy and without error, when it is understood according to what its authors—both human and divine—meant.[12] Because the Bible is the ultimate authority given to man, which reveals God’s heart, mind, and will, it is to be believed, obeyed, and trusted, and is sufficient for knowing what it is to live a life pleasing to God.[13] To disobey or disbelieve the Bible is to disobey or disbelieve God. Statements about God and other spiritual matters are true only to the extent that they conform to the written Word of God.

Man and Sin

Man and woman are created in the image of God,[14] and this is intrinsic to the very nature of all human beings, regardless of sex, age, sinful condition, and/or ability to function in normal human capacity. The image of God in man is one of the primary things that give human life value.[15]

Sin is disobedience to the moral law of God.[16] Therefore, while sin often harms other parts of creation (e.g., other human beings), it is primarily an offense against God.[17] Since the fall of the first man and the first woman,[18] all humans are born in a state of spiritual death, are sinners by choice, and are therefore alienated from God as a result of their rebellion and are under his just wrath.[19] Man is utterly unable to remedy his sinful condition and to reverse the effects of the fall.[20]

Sin’s corrupting effects influence every part of our being,[21] including the intellect,[22] will,[23] affections,[24] conscience,[25] and body.[26] Therefore, God justly stands in judgment against mankind.[27]

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity—fully God[28] and fully man,[29] united in one person, without division of person or confusion of his two natures. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,[30] born of a virgin,[31] and was descended from David.[32] He lived a sinless life,[33] was crucified,[34] rose bodily from the dead on the third day,[35] and ascended into heaven,[36] where he sits at the right hand of the Father.[37] He is the judge of the living and the dead,[38] the head of the church,[39] and the believer’s high priest and advocate before the Father.[40]

Salvation

Jesus Christ, through his obedience to God in his suffering and death on the cross,[41] obtained for us regeneration and new birth,[42] forgiveness of sins,[43] justification before God,[44] redemption from sin,[45] imputation of Christ’s righteousness,[46] and adoption into the family of God.[47] The primary purpose of Christ’s death was as a substitutionary sacrifice,[48] whereby the just suffered on behalf of the unjust,[49] appeasing the wrath of God,[50] and vindicating God’s righteousness in the forgiveness of sin.[51]

The benefits of Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection are given to all those who trusted in God prior to the cross,[52] and all who trust in Christ after the cross.[53] In other words, salvation from sin comes, and always has come, through faith, apart from good works. Faith is the only means by which sinners can obtain the saving benefits of Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection.[54]

Exceptions to this may include young children and others who are not mentally capable of understanding their sin or the gospel.[55] If such individuals are ultimately saved—and Scripture seems to teach that they are—it is because of a special and unusual act of God’s forgiveness of their sin on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection.

The Holy Spirit

The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who has been both present and active in ages past,[56] is now given freely to all believers.[57]

The Holy Spirit, anoints, empowers, and glorifies Jesus Christ.[58] He does this by convicting humans of sin, righteousness, and judgment,[59] enabling God’s people in the proclamation of the gospel (i.e., the good news of what God has done for sinners through Jesus Christ),[60] opening the hearts and minds of God’s elect,[61] giving them new birth,[62] enabling and guiding the writing of the Bible,[63] illuminating the Bible,[64] securing believers in Christ until the day of redemption,[65] bringing about Christ-likeness[66] and discernible spiritual fruit in their lives, [67] giving gifts by which the church is edified[68] and signs by which the gospel is confirmed,[69] and helping believers in prayer.[70]

The Church

There is one universal church,[71] which is the body of Christ[72] and is under his headship.[73] The church is the New Covenant people of God,[74] and individuals belong to this worldwide community by virtue of their faith in Christ.[75] Because of this faith, all people belonging to the true church are justified before God,[76] adopted into God’s family, and are heirs of heaven[77] and true children of Abraham.[78]

The ultimate goal of the church is to glorify God through worship.[79] The universal church is manifested in local churches in which the Word of God is taught and proclaimed,[80] the gospel is preached, corporate worship takes place, spiritual gifts are exercised,[81] the ordinances of baptism[82] and communion[83] are administered, and church discipline is carried out.[84] Leadership in local churches must meet the qualifications laid out in Scripture.[85]

Baptism is an ordinance of God that should be practiced in local churches by immersion in water.[86] By doing so, churches obey Jesus Christ[87] and follow his example,[88] as well as that of the early church.[89] Baptism is an expression of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection.[90] It is a public declaration of a person’s faith and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and his body, the church. Baptism is not a means to salvation.[91] It is to be administered to believers only.[92] There is no clear biblical evidence (i.e., command or example) that infants should be baptized.[93]

Communion is an ordinance of God that should also be practiced among believers in local churches. It is the sign of the New Covenant, and by eating bread and drinking the cup of the Lord, we remember and proclaim his death until he comes.[94] Believers should examine their lives before eating the Lord’s Supper, and, if they are engaging in persistent sin, particularly with respect to the unity of the church and care for the poor, they should abstain.[95]

Christian Life

The gift of sanctification that is given by the Holy Spirit is the process by which believers are set apart for God[96] and are progressively transformed into the image of Christ.[97] At the time of salvation, slavery to sin is abolished,[98] the believer becomes dead to sin,[99] and desire to sin begins to recede, which is evidenced by a turning away from sin[100] and growing in love for God and others.[101] However, because sanctification is a process, the believer is not entirely free from sin until the Lord returns on the day of redemption, although this process should be expected to progress throughout life.[102]

Christ’s Return

Christians who die before the return of Christ are made perfectly holy[103] and are placed by God consciously into Christ’s presence.[104] At the end of this age, Jesus Christ will return to earth visibly,[105] bodily,[106] and unexpectedly,[107] in power and in glory[108] to gather his elect,[109] raise the dead,[110] judge the nations,[111] and establish his kingdom.[112]

The Eternal State

Both believers[113] and unbelievers[114] will stand before God at the final judgment,[115] although believers will not receive condemnation, because of the merits of Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection have been applied to them. For unbelievers, there will be different degrees of punishment, according to what they have done.[116] This judgment will be perfectly just and impartial.[117] Those made righteous by the blood of Christ will enter into everlasting joy in the presence of God,[118] while the wicked will be condemned for their sin and consigned to everlasting, conscious, punishment.[119]


[1] Isa 45:5–7; 1 Cor 8:4.

[2] Matt 3:16–17; 28:19; John 14:26; 2 Cor 12:4–6; 13:4; Eph 4:4–6; 1 Pet 1:2; Jude 20–21.

[3] Ps 90:2. This point is entailed in God’s status as creator of the universe.

[4] Neh 9:6; Isa 40:17–23, 28; Rom 11:36; Heb 2:10; Rev 4:11.

[5] 1 Sam 23:11–13; Job 37:16; Pss 90:4; 139:1–4, 16;  Isa 42:8–9; 46:9–10; 55:9; Matt 6:8; 10:29; 11:21–23; Heb 4:13; 2 Pet 3:8; 1 John 3:20.

[6] Gen 18:24; Pss 24:8; 115:3; Jer 32:27; Matt 19:26; Luke 1:37; 2 Cor 6:18; Eph 3:20; 2 Tim 2:13; Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18; Jas 1:13; Rev 1:8.

[7] Pss 34:8; 84:11; 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; etc.; 119:68; Luke 18:19; John 3:16; Rom 5:8; 12:2; Gal 2:20; Jas 1:17; 1 John 4:8, 10.

[8] Job 42:2; Ps 115:3; Jer 32:17; Dan 4:25, 34–35; Eph 1:11.

[9] Exod 15:11; 1 Sam 2:2; Isa 6:1–4; 57:15.

[10] Gen 18:25; Deut 32:4; Job 34:10; Hab 1:13; Jas 1:13; Job 34:12.

[11] Deut 18:18; Jer 1:9; Matt 19:4–5; Mark 7:9–13; John 14:26; 16:12–14; Acts 1:16; 2:16–17; 3:18, 21; 4:25; 13:34, 47; 28:25; Rom 1:2; 3:2; 9:17; 1 Cor 9:8–10; 14:37; 2 Cor 13:3; 1 Tim 5:18; 1 Thess 2:13; 4:8, 15; 2 Thess 3:6; Heb 1:1–2, 6–7; 2 Pet 1:21; 3:2, 16.

[12] Num 23:19; 2 Sam 7:28; Prov 30:5; Matt 5:18; 22:31–32; 24:35; John 10:35; 17:17; Gal 3:16; Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18.

[13] Deut 8:3; Josh 1:8; Ps 19:7–11; Matt 5:18; 2 Tim 3:16.

[14] Gen 1:26–27; Ps 8:5–6.

[15] Gen 9:6; 1Cor 11:7; Jas 3:9.

[16] Rom 2:12–15.

[17] Gen 39:9; Ps 51:4.

[18] Gen 3:1–24.

[19] Gen 8:21; 1 Kgs 8:46; Pss 51:5; 58:3; Isa 53:6; 64:6; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:9–18, 21–23; 5:12–21; Gal 3:22; Eph 2:1–3; 1 John 1:8). God is not the cause of sin, nor does he himself sin (Deut 32:4; Mark 7:21–23; Luke 6:45; Jas 1:13–15; 1 John 1:5. See also “God” above.

[20] Gen 4–11; Rom 7:21–24.

[21] Rom 7:18.

[22] Rom 1:21; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 4:17–18; Tit 1:15.

[23] Gen 6:5; Rom 6:16–17; 1 Cor 10:6; Jas 1:14–15; 2 Pet 1:14.

[24] Tit 3:3.

[25] Tit 1:15.

[26] Rom 8:10.

[27] Gen 18:25; 1 Sam 2:10; 1 Chr 16:33; Pss 7:8, 11; 50:4, 6; 67:4; 82:8; 89:14; 94:2; 96:10, 13; Isa 2:4; 3:13; 51:5; Eze 7:3; 34:17, 20, 22; Mic 4:3; John 8:16, 50; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom 2:16; 2 Tim 4:1, 8; Heb 12:23; Jas 5:9; 1 Pet 4:5; Rev 16:7; 20:4.

[28] John 1:1–3; 1 Cor 8:5–6; Phil 2:6; Col 1:15–17; 2:9; Heb 1:1–3.

[29] Phil 2:5–8.

[30] Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35.

[31] Matt 1:18, 23; Luke 1:27; 2:4–5.

[32] 2 Sam 7:12–16; Ps 132:11; Isa 11:1; Jer 23:5; Matt 1:1–17; Luke 1:69; 3:31; John 7:42; Acts 2:30; 13:23; Rom 1:3; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16.

[33] Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 John 3:5.

[34] Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:16.

[35] Matt 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 9:22; 18:33; 24:7, 21, 46; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor 15:4.

[36] Luke 24:50–53; Acts 1:2, 9–11.

[37] Acts 2:33; Phil 2:9–11; Heb 10:2.

[38] John 5:22; Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1.

[39] Eph 5:23; Col 1:18.

[40] Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14–15; 5:10; 6:20; chap 7; 8:1; 9:11; 1 John 2:1.

[41] Rom 5:6, 18–19; 8:34; 14:9; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18.

[42] Eze 11:19–20; 36:26; John 2:12–13; 3:1–3; Rom 8:5–7; 1 Cor 2:14–15; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:1, 5–6; Jas 1:18; 1 Pet 1:3, 23; 1 John 2:29; 5:1, 4.

[43] Matt 26:28; Luke 24:46–47; John 1:29; Acts 2:38; Eph 1:7.

[44] Rom 3:24–28; Rom 4:5, 25; 5:1, 9, 16, 18; 8:30, 33; 10:10; 1 Cor 6:11; Gal 2:16, 21; 3:24; Tit 3:7.

[45] Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Gal 3:13; 4:5; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Tit 2:14; Heb 9:12, 15.

[46] Rom 9:30; Phil 3:9.

[47] Rom 8:15, 23; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5.

[48] Isa 53:5–6, 11; Rom 8:1–3; Gal 3:13; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 John 2:2.

[49] Isa 53:8–9; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18.

[50] Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.

[51] Rom 3:25.

[52] Rom 4:3.

[53] Acts 10:43; 13:38–39; Rom 3:24–26.

[54] Rom 3:28; 4:1–15; Gal 2:16, 21 Eph 2:8–9.

[55] 2 Sam 12:23; Pss 22:10; 103:17; Luke 1:15 1 Cor 7:14.

[56] Gen 1:2; Exod 31:3; 35:31; Num 11:29; 24:2; Judg 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam 10:6, 10; 11:6; 16:13–14; 19:20, 23; 2 Sam 23:2; 1 Kgs 18:12; 1 Chr 12:18; 2 Chr 15:1; 20:14; 24:20; Neh 9:20, 30; Job 33:4; Pss 51:11; 104:30; 139:7; 143:10; Isa 11:2; 30:1; 34:16; 42:1; 59:21; 61:1; 63:10–14; Eze 2:2, 12, 14, 24; 8:3; 11:1, 5, 24; 37:1; 43:5; Mic 3:8: Hag 2:5; Zech 4:6; 7:12; Acts 4:25, 31.

[57] Isa 32:14–18; 44:3; Eze 36:27; Joel 2:28–29; Acts 1:5; 2:17–18, 33, 38; 10:44–47; Rom 8:7–9; 1 Cor 12:13.

[58] Matt 3:16; 12:28; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; 4:1, 14, 18–19, 36, 40–41; John 1:32; 3:34–35; 7:39; 16:14; Acts 10:38.

[59] John 16:8.

[60] Acts 1:8; 4:8, 31; 6:5, 10; 13:9–11; Rom 15:18–19; 1 Cor 2:4; 1 Thess 1:5; 1 Pet 1:12.

[61] John 3:8; Acts 16:14; Heb 3:7–8; 10:16; Rev 22:17.

[62] John 3:5–8; 6:63; 2 Cor 3:6; Tit 3:5.

[63] Matt 19:4–5; Mark 7:9–13; John 14:26; 16:12–14; Acts 1:16; 2:16–17; 4:25; 28:25; 2 Pet 1:21.

[64] 1 Thess 4:8.

[65] Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13–14; 4:30.

[66] Rom 15:16; 2 Cor 3:17–18; 2 Thess 2:13.

[67] Rom 8:5; Gal 5:22–23.

[68] 1 Cor 12:7–11.

[69] Acts 6:8; 13:9–11; 1 Cor 2:4; Heb 2:3–4.

[70] Rom 8:26; Eph 2:8.

[71] Matt 16:18; 1 Cor 10:32; 11:22; 12:28; Col 1:18, 24.

[72] 1 Cor 12:13, 27; Eph 1:22–23; 3:6; 4:4, 12; 5:23; Col 1:18, 24; 3:15.

[73] Eph 5:23.

[74] Jer 31:31–34; Luke 22:20; Rom 8:24–26; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6; 6:16; Phil 3:3; Heb 8:8–13; 9:15; 12:24.

[75] Jer 31:34.

[76] See above.

[77] See above under “salvation;” 2 Thess 2:13–14.

[78] Rom 4:11, 16, 18; 9:7–8; Gal 3:29; Phil 3:3.

[79] Matt 5:14–16; John 4:23; Acts 13:2; Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 14:25; Eph 3:21; 5:18–20; Col 3:15–16; Rev 5:9–12.

[80] Acts 15:41; 16:5; Rom 16:4, 16; 1 Cor 7:17; 11:16; 14:15–17, 33–34; 16:1–2, 19; 2 Cor 8:1, 18–19, 23–24; 11:8, 28; 12:13; Gal 1:2, 22; Eph 3:10; 4:11–12; 2 Tim 4:1–2; 1 Thess 2:14; 2 Thess 1:4; Heb 10:25.

[81] Rom 12:3–8; 1 Cor 12:4–18; 1Pet 4:10–11.

[82] Matt 28:19.

[83] 1 Cor 11:23–26.

[84] 1 Cor 5:7–13; Gal 6:1; 2 Thess 3:14–15; Jas 5:19–20.

[85] Eze 32:2–24; Acts 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim 3:1–7; 4:14; 5:17; Tit 1:5–9; Jas 5:14; 1 Pet 5:1, 5.

[86] John 3:23; Acts 8:38–39; Rom 6:1–7.

[87] Matt 28:19–20.

[88] Matt 3:13–17; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21–22; John 1:32–34.

[89] Acts 2:37–41; 8:12–13, 16, 35–39; 9:18; 10:44–48; 16:14–15, 30–34; 18:8; 19:1–7; 22:16; Rom 6:3; 1 Cor 1:13–17; 12:13; Gal 3:27.

[90] Rom 6:1–5; Gal 3:27; Col 2:11–12.

[91] Luke 23:43; 1 Cor 1:17.

[92] 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27; Col 2:11–12.

[93] Jer 31:31–34; Acts 11:13–14; 16:15, 31–34; 18:8; 1 Cor 1:16; Heb 8:8–13.

[94] Matt 26:26–29; Mark 1:22–25; Luke 22:14–20; 1 Cor 11:23–26.

[95] 1 Cor 11:27–34.

[96] Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Eph 5:26; Heb 10:10, 29.

[97] Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 3:18; Col 3:9–10.

[98] Rom 6:14, 18.

[99] Rom 6:11, 14.

[100] 2 Cor 7:1; 1 John 3:9.

[101] Matt 22:37–38; John 13:35; 15:13; Rom 13:10; 1 Cor 13:4–7; Heb 10:24; 1 John 2:15; 4:11, 19; 5:3.

[102] Rom 6:12–13, 19, 22; Phil 3:12–14; 1 Thess 4:3; 5:23; 1 John 1:8–10; Heb 10:14; 12:23.

[103] Heb 12:22–23.

[104] Luke 23:43; Acts 7:56, 59–60; Rom 8:1, 38–39; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:21–23; 3:10; 1 Thess 5:10; Rev 14:13.

[105] Acts 1:9–11.

[106] Phil 3:20–21.

[107] Matt 24:42–44, 50; 25:13;Mark 13:32–37; Luke 12:40; 1 Thess 5:2–3; Jas 5:7–9; 1 Pet 4:7; 2 Pet 3:8–10; Rev 1:3; 22:7, 12, 20.

[108] Luke 21:27; 2 Thess 2:7–10.

[109] 1 Cor 15:22–24; 1 Thess 4:15–17.

[110] 1 Cor 15:52.

[111] See above under “Jesus Christ.”

[112] Luke 22:28–30; 1 Cor 15:22–24; 2 Tim 4:1.

[113] Rom 2:6–11; 14:10, 12; 1 Cor 4:5; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 11:18; 20:12, 15.

[114] Rom 2:5–7.

[115] Matt 10:15; 11:22, 24; 12:36; 25:31–46; Luke 12:2–3; Acts 17:30–31; Rom 2:5; 1 Cor 4:5; Heb 6:2; 2 Pet 2: Jude 6; Rev 20:11–15.

[116] Matt 11:22, 24; Luke 12:47–48; 20:47; Rev 20:12–13.

[117] Rom 2:11; 3:19; 1 Pet 1:17; Rev 19:1–2.

[118] Matt 19:29; 25:23, 46; John 3:16; Rom 6:23; Rev 22:3–5.

[119] Dan 12:2; Matt 3:12; 18:8; 10:28; 12:32; 25:41, 46; 26:24; Mark 3:29; 9:43–48; Luke 16:26; 2 Thess 1:9; Jude 12–13; Rev 14:11; 19:3; 20:10, 15.