Statement of Faith

What We Believe and Teach

Ratified 2022

God values truth! Jesus petitioned the Father to “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). The Lord understood the absolute necessity of truth and requested the Father to use truth to set apart His disciples for the purpose of bringing Him glory. Christian leaders are commanded by God to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). The careful attention to biblical detail in this Doctrinal Statement is presented to our local church with joy and great anticipation. John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

This statement of faith is created to be the guide of what we teach at First Baptist Church. It represents the consensus of belief and conviction of the Elders of the church concerning what the Scriptures teach. It is provided for the general instruction, unity, and guidance of our people concerning what is taught in the Scriptures, as well as theological guardrails from which we will not deviate.

It is not expected that one must agree with the entire Doctrinal Statement before becoming a member of the church; only belief in and commitment to the Essential Doctrines below are necessary for membership (the full explanation and Scriptural basis for which are found on the following pages). Rather, the detailed statement is a challenge to everyone to search the Scriptures and see if these things are true.

All references use the ESV translation unless noted.

Reading verses without their context can lead to erroneous understanding. The Elders have sought to comprehend the context of the verses in these references to ensure proper interpretation. You, the reader, are encouraged to read them in their greater context whenever greater clarity is necessary.

  1. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life.
  2. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  3. We believe Jesus Christ was begotten by the Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and is fully God and fully man. We believe that He died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ, His bodily ascension into heaven, His continuing service as our High Priest and Advocate, and His imminent bodily return to reign.
  4. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, enabling them to live a godly life.
  5. We believe every human being is created in the image of God. All are born sinners by nature, have sinned, and are therefore separated from God and unfit for eternal life with Christ.
  6. We believe that all who repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again of the Holy Spirit, and thereby become the children of God.
  7. We believe that baptism is the immersion of a believer in water as a testimony of one’s faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Christ and of one’s union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to new life; and that the Lord’s Supper is to be a commemoration of the Lord’s death until He comes.
  8. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost, the saved to eternal life with Christ and the lost to eternal punishment in hell.

SUMMARY: The 66 books of the Bible are the revealed truth of God, given by the Holy Spirit through human authors. Each word has been breathed out by God (inspired) and is therefore without error in the original writings, embodies all that is necessary for a life pleasing to God, and is the supreme and final authority in all matters upon which it speaks.

  1. Revelation
    1. The Bible is special revelation, which is direct propositional revelation from God (2 Timothy 3:16a). It is called special for two reasons: it is particular (not given to all of creation), and it is propositional (it is given through human language) (2 Kings 17:24; 2 Chronicles 36:22; Isaiah 55:11; Revelation 1:1-2).
    2. There are 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit which together constitute the plenary Word of God (inspired equally in all parts) (1 Corinthians 2:7-13; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
    3. God’s revelation to man is complete. There is no new revelation being given to the church or any individuals today. The Church is to reject any claims of new revelation and guard diligently that which we have once and for all received (Jude 1:3, 17-21; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; Revelation 22:18-19). While other writings may be useful in helping us understand the Scriptures, no other writings are inspired by God. The Apocrypha is not the Word of God.
  2. Inspired
    1. The Bible is verbally inspired, meaning every word of Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). As such, the Bible does not merely contain the word of God, but it is the Word of God. It is not merely a collection of inspired thoughts but of actual inspired words from the breath of God. It is thus a perfect treasure of divine instruction (Psalm 19:7-9).
    2. God spoke His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man without error (2 Peter 1:20-21, 3:15b; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13).
  3. Inerrant
    1. The Bible is a perfect document in its original writings, containing no errors whatsoever in any detail or doctrine (Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17). Since God is the ultimate author of Scripture, and God’s character is such that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), the Bible is therefore without error. Everything the Bible asserts is true and accurate, including but not limited to matters of doctrine, ministry, personal living, history, and science.
  4. Authoritative
    1. The Bible carries God’s full authority and is the only infallible rule for faith and for Christian living (John 10:35b; Hebrews 4:12). It is fully binding upon every individual, demanding reverence and obedience (Matthew 5:18-19).
    2. The Bible is not shy about its own full authority. Commands are made with regularity (Psalm 119:166; Matthew 22:36-40; Exodus 20:6; Revelation 14:12). Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, appealed to the authority of the Old Testament Scriptures again and again in His life (1 John 5:3; Matthew 4:4, 7, 10, 5:17-20). The Apostle Paul fully understood that he was writing with God’s full authority (1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:6).
  5. Sufficient
    1. The Bible gives us everything we need to know about God, about salvation, and about sanctification. On its own, the Bible is powerful and effective to transform a lost sinner through faith and repentance into the image of Christ (1 Peter 1:3, 23; James 1:18a). Nothing else has any power to save or sanctify (1 Corinthians 1:18; Luke 16:31).
    2. The Scriptures alone are sufficient to restore, counsel, delight, enlighten, sustain, satisfy, and protect us (Psalm 19:7-11). By them, every Christian shall be outfitted for the complete and active Christian life (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  6. Clear
    1. The Scriptures are given to us in understandable language and concepts, and God expects us to understand it (Matthew 12:3, 5, 21:42; John 3:10) and to teach it to our children and others (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; 2 Timothy 2:2). The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation (2 Timothy 2:15) under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, 2:14; James 1:5-6; 1 John 2:20-21). While there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation (Matthew 22:29-33).
    2. While some individual elements of the Bible are challenging to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16), nothing is without explanation. In all things, the less difficult passages help interpret the more difficult, not the other way around. Indeed, the Scriptures are designed to make wise the simple and instruct the naïve (Psalm 19:7, 119:130; James 1:22-25).
  7. Preserved
    1. Through God’s divine providence, the 66 books of the Bible have been preserved and are available to us today.
    2. Discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls have verified the Old Testament text was transmitted carefully and has not changed, while the New Testament books boast an overwhelming abundance of early manuscripts close to the original dates of writing. Careful scholarly critiques of these texts and their transmission through time give us incredible confidence today in the preservation of the Bible.

SUMMARY: There is only one living and true God, self-existent as an infinite, eternal, all-knowing Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each equally deserving worship and obedience.

  1. The Holy Trinity
    1. There is but one true and living God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7) who eternally exists in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 1:20-21; John 14:16; Matthew 3:16-17). These three Persons of the Godhead have precisely the same attributes. Each Person deserves worship and obedience (2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 5:13).
  2. God's Character
    1. God is at all times all of His attributes. He is never partly one or partly another and He never puts one off to put on another. Each attribute is always fully present, and each harmonizes with one another.
    2. Among other attributes, God is
      1. Holy. God is absolutely holy and perfect. Indeed, God is too pure to look upon sin with approval. He cannot be tempted by sin. He is altogether set apart from His creation (1 Samuel 2:2; Ezekiel 39:7; James 1:13a).
      2. Unchanging. God’s being and attributes are immutable. God does not fluctuate, grow, improve, adapt, learn, or evolve. From eternity past to eternity future, He is the same (Psalm 33:11; Malachi 3:6).
      3. Eternal. God is eternal in existence, having no beginning and no end. God was not created, born, or caused. He is the eternal “I AM” (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2).
      4. Self-Existent. God is unto Himself all-sufficient, in need of nothing from His creation. God has no needs outside of Himself (Acts 17:25; Psalm 115:3).
      5. Creator. God is the foundation of all existence. From Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. Nothing has existed or can exist apart from a creative act of God (Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6).
      6. Omnipotent. God is all-powerful. He has absolute power to accomplish whatsoever His will is to accomplish. Everyone, including Satan, is subject to His plans and desires (Matthew 19:26; Philippians 3:21b).
      7. Omnipresent. God is all-present. He is infinite in being, having no limits or restrictions to His size or to His presence. He is immense—filling and surpassing the universe. Nowhere can man flee from His presence (Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:23-24).
      8. Omniscient. God’s knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of His creation. In His sight, all things are open and manifest so that nothing to Him is contingent or uncertain. God knows the future as well as the past. He knows and examines the hearts of all men (1 Kings 8:39; 1 John 3:20).
      9. Wise. God is of infinite wisdom and applies it to every situation. Every decision and plan of God’s is best. He has never made a mistake nor missed a better course of action (Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:10).
      10. Faithful. God is faithful to all His promises and covenants. His word is absolutely reliable. His character is completely dependable. His promises of blessing are always fulfilled and His warnings of judgment are real. His predictions of the future always come true (Psalm 89:1-2; Hebrews 10:23).
      11. Loving. God is kind, merciful, and full of steadfast love. God loves and shows mercy based upon His own character—not based upon the goodness or the value of His creation. God’s kindness extends even to His enemies, providing for both the righteous and the unrighteous. He forgives even the worst sinner who turns to Him in repentance and faith (Lamentations 3:22; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 John 4:16).
      12. Gracious. God is full of grace, granting forgiveness of sin to the undeserving. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. The desire to graciously forgive is basic to God’s nature. He takes no delight in the death of the wicked (Exodus 33:19; 1 John 1:9).
      13. Just. God is entirely just and terrifying in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty. All sin will be judged, and His judgments are always righteous (Deuteronomy 32:4; Zephaniah 3:5).
      14. Sovereign. Everything that has happened or will happen is under God’s control. He does whatever He pleases, and nothing can thwart His will (Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 14:24, 27). Though God is not responsible for any sin (Deuteronomy 32:4), nor does He tempt people to sin (James 1:13), even wicked and sinful things fall under God’s total control (Isaiah 45:7). He works within all things, including evil, for His divine good purposes (Proverbs 16:4; Acts 2:23), and especially for the good of His chosen people (Romans 8:28). In all things, God’s glory is the purpose and end goal of world history and each event that takes place therein (Psalm 72:18-19; Romans 9:17, 22-23).
  3. God the Father
    1. The Father is the first person of the Holy Trinity and has all the perfections and powers of God (Luke 10:21-22; John 5:19b-21).
    2. God the Father designates Himself as Father to reveal the nature of His relationship in the Holy Trinity and His relationship to mankind (John 10:29-30; Romans 8:14-16; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a). The relationship He has within the Trinity is not one of superiority in essence. Rather, He is Father according to His role and function within the Godhead (John 17:1, 5; Colossians 1:3).
    3. God the Father is a spirit, invisible to man, having no body or physical elements. Therefore, no man has seen or can see God in His essential being. God can and has manifested Himself in various ways and at various times. However, these manifestations are not of His essential being (John 4:24; 1 Timothy 6:16).
  4. Relationship with Man
    1. God is at once both transcendent and immanent—He is outside of time and space and incomprehensible to the human mind (Job 11:7-8; Ecclesiastes 3:11), yet He is also close at hand and knowable (Isaiah 57:15; John 14:23). Though He is beyond total understanding, He can be known personally as He chooses to be known (Isaiah 40:28-31).
    2. The Triune God created mankind and chose mankind for a unique relationship with Himself. God enters into a special eternal relationship with those whom He chose from before time to save (Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). He has given us the Scriptures and opened His ear to our prayers. God the Father sent God the Son to live among us, be related to us, empathize with us, and die for us to redeem us to Himself (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 2:10-18). God the Spirit abides in every believer, making them living temples of God and His adopted children, thereby heirs with Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:9-17a).

SUMMARY: As the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus possesses the full attributes of divinity, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial (of one and the same essence), and coeternal with the Father. He alone is the Mediator between God and man, the Head of His Body the church, and the coming universal King. He is the final Judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior.

  1. Preincarnate
    1. Jesus is eternal and not a created being (John 1:1). He dwells in perfect oneness with the Father and Spirit forever (John 10:30, 14:9, 17:5). God created all things through Christ, by whom all things continue to exist and operate (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2).
  2. Incarnation
    1. Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20, 23), and while remaining God also became man (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1-2). The purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26).
    2. In the incarnation, Jesus laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God and became a humble servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:6-8). In this act, He surrendered nothing of the divine essence, in either degree or kind, but voluntarily set aside (emptied Himself of) His preincarnate glory (John 17:5), the full open display of His divine attributes (Matthew 24:36), His eternal riches (2 Corinthians 8:9), and His face-to-face relationship with the Father (Matthew 27:46). By taking on manhood, Jesus accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and became the God-Man, fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9), yet without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15, 7:26).
  3. Life and Death
    1. In His earthly life, Jesus faced the hardships and temptations common to all mankind, yet He never sinned—He was perfect in all His ways (Hebrews 4:15). As such, He alone is the spotless sacrifice on our behalf (1 Peter 3:18), imputing perfect law-fulfilling righteousness to those who believe (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:14). His death was voluntary (John 10:15), substitutionary (Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24), propitiatory (Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 4:10), and redemptive (Ephesians 1:7). On the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is instantly freed from the punishment and power of sin (Romans 6:14, 18, 23), and one day even the very presence of sin (1 Corinthians 15:42-43, 52).
  4. Resurrection and Ascension
    1. In the bodily, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave (Luke 24:38-39; 1 Corinthians 15:5-6), God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that He has accepted His atoning work on the cross (Romans 1:4). After His resurrection, Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25, 9:23; 1 John 2:1).
    2. For the believer, one’s justification (right-standing) before God is made sure by Christ’s resurrection from the dead (Romans 4:25). This bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection and embodied life for all believers (John 14:19; Romans 6:5).
  5. Future Reign and Judgment
    1. Jesus Christ will return to receive all true believers to Himself at the rapture and will return with them in glory to establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 19:7-9, 11-14). Jesus Himself will judge all mankind (John 5:22; Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15). Believers will be evaluated for their faithfulness and character of their works, not with respect to salvation (2 Corinthians 5:10). Unbelievers will be judged according to their deeds and condemned to eternal torment (Matthew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

SUMMARY: As the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit possesses the full attributes of divinity, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial (of one and the same essence), and coeternal with the Father and the Son. The Spirit works in perfect concert with the will of the Father to carry out divine activity on earth and in believers.

  1. Personality
    1. The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, eternal and underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10, 13), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-8), omniscience (Isaiah 40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13).
  2. Ministry
    1. The Holy Spirit is constantly engaged in executing the divine will with relation to all mankind. His sovereign activity is clearly seen in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the writing of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21; John 14:26, 16:13), the work of salvation (John 3:5), and in convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
    2. As promised by Christ, the Holy Spirit came from the Father (John 14:16, 15:26) at Pentecost to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration (Titus 3:5), baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13).
  3. Spiritual Gifts
    1. Believers’ spiritual gifts are administered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:11). Every gift given is designed to glorify Christ and edify other believers, never to glorify or edify the one exercising the gift (John 16:14; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
    2. In this respect, God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of spiritual gifts for the perfecting of the saints today (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). Certain, specific gifts, namely speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles, were temporary gifts for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the Apostles as revealers of divine truth in the beginning days of the church, and were never intended to be characteristic of all believers or normative in the church age (Hebrews 2:3-4; 1 Corinthians 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12). All the biblical miraculous sign gifts have ceased.
  4. Baptism, Indwelling, and Filling
    1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a unique work of Christ by the Holy Spirit upon everyone who comes to saving faith. It is not a second work of grace given only to some believers who seek it. It began at Pentecost and subsequently occurs at the moment of salvation (Acts 11:15-16). Through this baptism of the Spirit, Christians are placed into the universal body of Christ, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13).
    2. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer permanently from the moment of salvation (John 7:39, 14:17; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 3:24), guaranteeing our eternal inheritance and sealing us unto the day of redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30). The filling of the Holy Spirit is not the same as being baptized or indwelt by the Spirit, but instead is a duty and command for Christians to be filled (or controlled) by the Spirit in our life (Ephesians 5:18) and thus produce the fruit of the Spirit in our character (Galatians 5:22-23).

SUMMARY: Man was created in the image of God, to glorify God and accomplish God’s good purposes. God made man and woman equal, but different, and gifted mankind with marriage. Man sinned and rejected God, has incurred death and corruption, and is incapable of restoring what was lost and being saved from the punishment of sin.

  1. Created Nature, Purpose, and Value
    1. Man was directly created by God on the sixth day of creation in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-31, 9:6b; James 3:9b). Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:15-20). God created man as a two-part being: a material body and an immaterial soul or spirit (Matthew 10:28; Romans 8:10).
    2. God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life within the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16b; Revelation 4:11).
    3. Man’s value is derived from God and is not self-originating. Mankind was created in the image of God, giving all human life sacred value (Genesis 1:26-27; James 3:9b). Therefore, every life is valuable to God, the born and the unborn, the healthy and the infirm (Exodus 21:22-25). Man is distinct from animals and of infinitely greater value because man alone was made in the image of God. God further expressed that man should have dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26, 28; Psalm 8:6-8). However, man being made in God’s image does not make man to be God or “littles gods.”
  2. Gender
    1. Man and woman were both created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and are thus positionally equal before God (Galatians 3:28). Man is not greater than woman, neither is woman greater than man (1 Corinthians 11:11-12).
    2. Though man and woman were created equal, they were not created identical. God formed man with a male body intending man to act with masculine traits and to fulfill his distinct role as a man. God fashioned woman with a female body intending woman to act with feminine traits and to fulfill her distinct role as a woman (1 Timothy 2:8-12; Titus 2:2-6). One’s gender and sex are permanent, given by God at conception, and are not malleable or transitory (Mark 10:6).
  3. Marriage
    1. God instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman for one lifetime (Romans 7:2-3; Matthew 22:30) in a covenant of companionship in which the two become one (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6). Marriage is further a picture of the relationship God has with His people (Ephesians 5:22-23). It is not required of every person—some men and women are gifted by God to live a single life to God’s glory (Matthew 19:10-12; 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 9:5).
    2. By God’s design, man was made first, and thus he is the wife’s head and her servant-leader. This role was established at creation—before the fall into sin (Genesis 2:21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; Ephesians 5:25-33). Since the woman was made from the man, she is his body and support. Woman was made for man to complement and complete him. This role also was established at creation—before the fall into sin (Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:12-14).
    3. Any sexual activity outside of the bond of marriage is a perversion of God’s will and design and is therefore both harmful and sinful (1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; Hebrews 13:4).
  4. Free Will
    1. Man has a volitional will in that God has given him the capacity to choose that which he desires (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). However, no unregenerate human being desires God (Romans 3:10-12). Because man can only choose according to his desires, outside of Christ, man’s will is incapable of choosing righteousness (Romans 8:5, 7-8).
    2. Unredeemed human beings have free will but lack true freedom—all are slaves to sin (Proverbs 5:22; John 8:34; James 1:14-15). Until the heart is changed by the Holy Spirit, there is no desire for Christ and man cannot choose Him (John 6:44, 65).
    3. When God changes a person’s heart, He gives a desire for Himself that the person otherwise would not have. He does not act counter to a person’s will, but rather the person’s will is changed by God when God transforms the disposition of the heart and plants a desire for Himself within it (John 15:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; James 1:18).
  5. Corruption
    1. In Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence (Genesis 3:7), incurred the penalty of spiritual death (Genesis 3:22-24), physical death (Genesis 5:5), and eternal death (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9), and became subject to the wrath of God (John 3:36). With no recuperative powers to save himself, man is hopelessly lost (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:23).
    2. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Only by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit may we be brought out of this state of spiritual death (Titus 3:5). It is God alone by grace alone who makes us alive (Ephesians 2:4-5, 9-10).

SUMMARY: Adam’s first sin plunged mankind into spiritual darkness and alienation from God. Every human is thus born a sinner by nature, and therefore chooses to sin. Man is dead in sin, cannot free himself from slavery to sin, and, apart from God’s salvation, must suffer God’s just punishment for sin.

  1. Definition
    1. Sin is an attitude or action that expresses independence and/or rebellion from God and His standards. It is any thought, word, or deed with which God is not pleased (Proverbs 24:8-9; Mark 7:20-23). It is disobedience to the revealed will of God. Sin involves both sins of commission (doing what God forbids), and sins of omission (failing to act in the way God commands) (James 4:17).
    2. Furthermore, sin is believing a lie and doubting the truth of God (Romans 1:25; Hebrews 11:6). It is living pridefully rather than for the glory of God (2 Chronicles 12:14; Jeremiah 7:24). It is living selfishly rather than as a reflection of God’s love (Psalm 95:10). It is loving the things of the world rather than the things of God (1 John 2:15-16).
  2. Original Sin
    1. In Adam’s initial sin, sin was imputed to us—charged to our account (Romans 5:19a). Because all men were in Adam, a corrupt nature has been transmitted to all people of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception (Romans 5:12, 17-19). Therefore, all people are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:23).
  3. Total Depravity
    1. Unregenerate man is totally depraved, fundamentally evil at the core of his being (Jeremiah 17:9). There is no part of man that is left untouched by sin; man’s desires, thinking, will, emotions, conscience, relationships, and more have all been tainted with sin. Sin is all-encompassing, such that our minds, wills, and bodies are affected by it (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Ephesians 4:17-19). The Scriptures reject the false idea that all people struggle with sin yet are inherently good (Jeremiah 13:23; Romans 3:10-12). From the point of conception all mankind is sinful in every aspect of his being (Psalm 51:5). However, total depravity is not absolute depravity, such that man is not always as wicked as he possibly could be (Isaiah 64:6).
    2. Unregenerate man is a slave to sin (John 8:34; Romans 6:16, 17, 19, 20). Left to himself, man cannot break the power of sin over his attitudes and actions because man is both dead in sin and delights in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Instead, continuing in sin, man’s understanding is darkened and his heart is only further hardened against God (Romans 1:21-22; Ephesians 4:18-19).
  4. Sin's Penalty
    1. Despite being a sinner by nature and unable to stop sinning, man is still fully responsible for his sin and will be held to account by God. Sin must be punished, and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Just one sin is enough to deserve eternal damnation, for one sin offends God’s holiness, breaks His perfect Law, and severs the relationship with Him (James 2:10; Genesis 3:6). God, being holy and just, is right to condemn sinful man to eternal hell (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9).

SUMMARY: Salvation is that gracious act of God, where, through the atoning death of Christ He redeems and reconciles certain individuals to Himself. Salvation is not on the basis of merit or works of any kind or degree. It is received as a gift through personal repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. All who die in their sins apart from Christ have no salvation.

  1. Atonement
    1. Christ Himself bore the penalty of sin in His body on the cross, making atonement for the sins of man (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12, 14). Man’s sin is a legal and relational barrier between him and God. Christ’s death was an act of penal substitution (Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24), by which Christ took upon Himself God’s stored-up wrath, paying the penalty in full for those who believe, ransoming them out of sin and reconciling them legally and relationally to God, and procuring forgiveness for all who believe (Colossians 2:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:5-6a).
    2. Jesus’ death accomplished complete atonement for all time. The death of Christ never needs to be repeated, and no other atonement of any kind is needed. In offering up Himself—a spotless, perfect sacrifice—He took away sin once and for all (Hebrews 9:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 3:18).
  2. Election
    1. Election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:29-30; Galatians 1:15; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). His sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and believe (Matthew 7:26-27; Luke 13:34; John 5:40, 12:48; Romans 2:4-5).
    2. Since election will result in what God determines, His glorious grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself (Ephesians 1:11). All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith will be received by the Father (John 8:37, 40; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 2:8-9).
    3. The unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own, nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Romans 11:5-6; 2 Timothy 1:9). Thus, election excludes any possibility of boasting on the part of man and promotes humility and eternal gratitude (Deuteronomy 7:6-8a; Romans 9:14-16, 11:33, 36; Titus 3:4-5).
    4. God is completely sovereign over election. He exercises His sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; John 12:37-41; Romans 2:5-8). His sovereignty will always exalt His will in a manner totally consistent with His character (Romans 9:14-24).
  3. Regeneration
    1. Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the new nature and divine life are imparted to the believer (Titus 3:5; 1 John 3:9-10). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God as the repentant sinner, enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18a).
    2. Genuine regeneration is manifested by the fruits of repentance, such as righteous attitudes and conduct (Matthew 3:8; John 15:4-6; Romans 6:17-18). Good works contribute nothing to one’s rebirth but are its proper evidence and fruit (Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 2:8-10).
  4. Conversion (Faith and Repentance)
    1. Faith and repentance are man’s immediate response to the inward work of regeneration upon the soul (Mark 1:14-15; Acts 16:30-32, 17:30-31). They are not works performed to earn salvation but are the appropriate response of a sinner who is moved by God to come to Christ. Both repentance and faith are described in Scripture as gifts from God (Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:25).
    2. Faith that saves is not mere knowledge of gospel facts, nor even an acceptance of those facts as true (John 2:23-25; James 2:19b). Knowledge and assent are necessary, but true saving faith also involves an earnest trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 3:16, 36; Romans 10:9-10, 13), submitting oneself to the person and will of Christ with a desire and willingness to know, love, and obey Him (John 8:31-32, Galatians 5:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-8; 1 John 2:4-6).
    3. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, having a genuine sorrow for your sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-10), confessing your sins to Him (1 John 1:8-9), making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), and pursuing Christ with obedience to Him (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3). Repentance is a necessary part of conversion, inseparable from saving faith (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; Hebrews 6:1).
  5. Justification
    1. Justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which, based on the death of Christ and motivated by His own love (1 John 4:10), He declares righteous those who confess Christ as Lord through faith and repentance. This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20, 4:4-6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Isaiah 53:6b, 12b; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (Isaiah 53:11; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22-26).
    2. Justification is not a process of becoming righteous but is an instantaneous act of God whereby He declares the sinner to be righteous based upon the righteousness of Christ. The believer is not justified after death, but at the moment of faith in Christ (Romans 4:5, 5:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:11b). Therefore, there is no condemnation for the believer because all the believer’s guilt has been removed (Romans 8:1, 33-34). Justification brings the believer into a permanent state of peace and favor with God (Romans 5:1, 6:22-23).
  6. Sanctification
    1. Coupled with one’s justification, a believer is instantaneously set apart (sanctified) unto God (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13b; Hebrews 10:10). Christ’s righteousness is credited to the believer, and he is made positionally holy and perfect before God (Romans 4:24; Hebrews 10:14). Based upon this standing before God, the believer is called a saint—a “holy one” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
    2. Sanctification is also a process—a work of the Holy Spirit by which the believer is progressively sanctified (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus (Romans 6:19, 22; Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
    3. In this respect, every saved person is involved in daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh. Adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:14-16). The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. Total eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit provides increasing victory over sin (Galatians 5:16; Philippians 3:12; 1 John 1:8-10).
    4. At the moment we die or when Christ returns, by an act of God believers will be perfectly sanctified, whereby their practice is conformed to their position, being blameless without spot or blemish (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Ephesians 5:25-27; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 John 3:2).
  7. Perseverance and Assurance
    1. All the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever. No born-again person can or will lose his salvation (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:30, 35-39, 11:29; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 5:13). Genuine believers persevere in their faith to the end. Their continuance in the Christian walk and Christian doctrine is the mark that distinguishes them from those who merely profess Christianity and at some point fall away (Matthew 24:13; Romans 8:17; Galatians 5:4; Colossians 1:21-23a; 2 Peter 2:20-21; 1 John 2:18-19, 28). A special providence of God cares for the saved and keeps them from falling away permanently (Luke 22:31-32; John 17:9-12; 1 Peter 1:5) and is guaranteed by God’s provision of new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:3-4), the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:14), and the intercessory work of Christ at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).
    2. It is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation (Romans 5:2, 7:25-8:1) through the testimony of God’s Word (Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4, 1 John 3:1a) and the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:24b).
  8. Separation and Freedom
    1. Separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, such that we are to be separated from sin, the world, and the devil, unto our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2; James 4:4, 7; 1 John 2:15-17). Out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved shall pursue obedient righteousness, actively putting off sin and actively putting on holiness (John 14:23; Romans 12:1-2, 13:12-14; 1 Peter 2:11-12).
    2. Separation from sin does not mean that the believer is restricted from interacting with unbelievers in the normal course of life (John 2:1-2, 4:7, 17:15; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10). However, we are commanded to separate from worldly and sinful practices and all religious apostasy. Therefore, ecumenical efforts with gospel-denying “churches” and denominations constitutes sin (1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-16; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 John 1:9-11).
    3. Christians have been called to freedom (Galatians 5:1). Christian freedom does not give the believer liberty to engage in sin (Romans 6:14-19; 1 John 2:3-6), but to now follow the law of Christ by loving God with one’s whole being and loving one’s neighbor as themselves (Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13-14). Since the point of Christian liberty is to set us free from the power of sin, the believer should never let himself be mastered by sin (John 8:31-32; Romans 6:1-2, 12-14; Titus 2:11-12).

SUMMARY: God created angelic beings to worship Him and serve Him by carrying out His will. Fallen angels have rebelled against God, and actively seek to thwart God’s purposes. Satan is the chief fallen angel, leading the fallen angels in their opposition to God and the church. He has already been defeated through Christ’s death and resurrection.

  1. Holy Angels
    1. Angels are spiritual beings, who at times can assume bodily form and have physical properties (Hebrews 1:14; Daniel 10:10, 18; Luke 2:9; Hebrews 13:2). They were created by God (Colossians 1:16) and are therefore not to be worshiped (Colossians 2:18a; Revelation 22:8-9). They were created to serve and worship God (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:6-7) and also to serve believers (Hebrews 1:14). Angels were created holy and are able to live eternally without sin (Deuteronomy 33:2; Mark 8:38b).
    2. Angels are intelligent beings, able to study the works of God and continue to learn (1 Peter 1:12). They are vast in number and are ordered amongst themselves with ranks and classifications (Daniel 7:10, 10:13b; Revelation 5:11). Although they are a higher order of creation than man (Hebrews 2:7; 2 Peter 2:11), it is man who will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3a).
  2. Fallen Angels
    1. Demons are angels who, though created holy, sinned by rebelling against God (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). They work in this world to afflict people with sicknesses, to introduce lies, to propagate false religion, and to oppose the work of the Church (Job 2:7; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Timothy 4:1), though never outside the sovereign will of God (Job 1:12, 2:6; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 1 John 4:4). Demons can and sometimes do possess the bodies of unbelievers, overriding the person’s physical properties for nefarious purposes (Matthew 8:28; Mark 9:17-18). True believers however cannot be possessed by demons (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14b-15).
    2. Satan was one of the greatest of the created angels. He possesses all the attributes of a created personality (Job 1:7; Ezekiel 28:12-14). As such, he is not omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent. However, he actively opposes God and the work of the church, making sin seem appealing, introducing destructive teaching, and causing division (Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 3:8). He is the author of sin, the father of lies, and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Satan, also known as “Lucifer,” “Beelzebul,” “the Devil,” “the Dragon,” “the Evil One,” and “the Serpent,” is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:15; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 20:2).
    3. Satan stands judged and condemned by God for rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:15-17), for taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-9), and for introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-7). He is currently the prince of this world system (Ephesians 2:2), but has already been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20a; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14b; 2 Peter 2:4, 9). He will be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10).

SUMMARY: The church is the body of Christ, consisting of all true Christians. Each local church is to glorify and worship God, disciple and edify believers, and make disciples of the lost. Churches are to be elder led, with deacons specifically and members generally serving one another in love.

  1. Universal
    1. All who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one universal and united spiritual Body, the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-8) and the body of Christ, of which He is the Head (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:15; Colossians 1:18a).
    2. The Church on earth began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) and will end at the rapture when Christ comes for His own (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). It is thus a unique spiritual organism made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Ephesians 2:13-22). The Church is distinct from Israel (1 Corinthians 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:4b-6; Colossians 1:24b-26).
  2. Local
    1. Each local assembly is to be a congregation of baptized believers who regularly gather together (1 Corinthians 5:4a; Acts 15:30b; Hebrews 10:24-25), sharing in the common faith and fellowship of the Spirit, to fulfill God’s purposes for the church universal (Acts 2:38a, 41, 9:31, 13:1-3, 15:4a).
    2. The local church is free from external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Acts 15:22-31; 1 Peter 5:2a). True churches may cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church, however, through its Elders and their application of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
  3. Priorities of the Church
    1. The purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (Matthew 28:20a; 2 Timothy 2:2, 15, 3:16-17, 4:2a), by fellowship (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38a), and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8b).
  4. Ordinances
    1. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two ordinances that have been committed to the local church.
    2. Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a born-again 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 6:3-5). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
    3. The Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion, is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). While the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).
  5. Leadership Structure and Duties
    1. The one supreme authority for the church is Christ (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18a) and thus church leadership, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty. Elders are the biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly (also called overseers, pastors, and shepherds) (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). They must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and carry out their service in a godly manner (1 Peter 5:2-3).
    2. Elders are men (1 Timothy 2:11-12) of a local church responsible to shepherd, oversee, and lead that local body, having Christ’s authority in directing the church and keeping watch over their souls (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:7a; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17). Elders are to be men of godly character worthy of imitation (1 Timothy 3:2a; Hebrews 13:7). The Elders’ primary roles are ministering the Word, praying (Acts 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:17), and equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). It is appropriate to pay some or all Elders for their work (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
    3. Deacons are men or women (1 Timothy 3:11 (NASB1995); Romans 16:1) who serve under the Elders, assisting the Elders in the ministry and care of the local church, and enabling the Elders to focus on specific ministry areas (Acts 6:2-4; Philippians 1:1b; 1 Timothy 3:13). They must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1, 8-10, 11-12 (NASB1995)) and carry out their service in a godly manner (1 Peter 5:2-3).
    4. Believers are expected by God to join a local church and follow its leadership, including becoming formal members, and in so doing are responsible to attend consistently (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 11:18a), love and serve the church body (John 15:12; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 5:13b; Ephesians 4:12), submit to the leadership (1 Corinthians 16:15-16; Hebrews 13:7, 17), give faithfully (Luke 16:10-11; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7), disciple others (Matthew 28:19-20a; Ephesians 4:15-16; Hebrews 10:24), and hold one another accountable (Luke 17:3-4). Church membership is biblical, being logically deduced through the example of church records in Acts (Acts 2:41b, 4:4, 14:27), the necessary inference of having enrolled widows on membership rolls (1 Timothy 5:9), and for Elders to know who they are responsible for before God (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17a).
  6. Church Discipline
    1. Just as God the Father disciplines His children for their good (Hebrews 12:5-7; Revelation 3:19), God expects churches to participate with Him in discipline when necessary (1 Corinthians 5:6-7, 11-13). The goal of church discipline is the repentance and restoration of the sinning individual (Matthew 18:15; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; Galatians 6:1). It further serves to maintain the purity of the church and deter others from sinning (1 Timothy 5:20).
    2. Church discipline is the process of confronting sin in a believer to achieve their repentance and restoration. The four steps of church discipline are: privately confronting the person who sinned; confrontation by two or three witnesses; confrontation by the church; and removal of the sinning person from the church (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 13; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). If the sinning brother repents at any given step, the process stops, and the believer is to be restored in right standing with all involved (2 Corinthians 2:7-8; James 5:19-20).
    3. All believers are to help one another grow in godliness. This requires the commitment to confront one another when necessary—in humility, gentleness, truth, and love—to determine the facts and to expose sin privately (Ephesians 4:25, 31-32; Galatians 6:1). This exercise of self-control guards against gossip, misunderstanding, and divisiveness (2 Corinthians 12:19b-21). When a sinning believer rejects testimony of their sin validated by two or three witnesses, the matter should be brought to the Elders (Matthew 18:16-17a). However, at times, the nature of one’s sin may require immediate Elder attention and intervention (1 Corinthians 5:1-5; Titus 3:10-11).

SUMMARY: Christ will one day rapture His saints to be with Him, followed by a seven-year period of tribulation on earth. Christ will then return, conquer the enemies of God, establish a 1,000-year reign, and usher in His eternal Kingdom. Believers will be bodily resurrected and live with Christ forever on the new earth, while unbelievers will be bodily resurrected, judged, and cast into hell forever. God the Father will then forever dwell on earth with His saints in glory.

  1. Death
    1. Physical death results from sin and is a punishment for sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12, 17a, 6:23a). It is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), though there occurs a separation of the soul and the body (Philippians 1:21-24). This separation is impermanent, for all shall be resurrected bodily, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; John 5:29).
    2. At death, believers’ souls immediately pass into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23), where they remain in joyful fellowship with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8), awaiting resurrection (John 6:39; 2 Corinthians 4:14). At the Rapture, which initiates the first resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 20:4-6), the deceased Christian’s soul and body are reunited and glorified to be with the Lord forever (Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:42-43, 51-53).
    3. At death, the unbeliever’s soul immediately enters Hades and is kept under conscious punishment (Luke 16:22-24; Revelation 20:13b), awaiting resurrection. At the final judgment, which is immediately preceded by the second resurrection (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:4b-5a; John 5:28-29), the deceased unbeliever’s soul and body are reunited in order to be judged by God and cast into eternal hell (Revelation 20:12-15).
  2. The Rapture and Tribulation
    1. Jesus Christ will soon return personally and bodily before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13; Revelation 22:20) to take His Church from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Between the Rapture and Christ’s millennial reign, He will reward believers according to their works of faith (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:8).
    2. Immediately following the removal of the church from the earth, the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world over a period of seven years (Daniel 9:27, 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16:1-21). These tribulation judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27-31, 25:31-32).
  3. The Second Coming of Christ and His Millennial Reign
    1. After the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11) and establish His messianic kingdom for 1,000 years on the earth (Revelation 20:6). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Daniel 7:18; Revelation 20:6). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Revelation 19:20), and by the removal of Satan from the world, being cast into the abyss for 1,000 years (Daniel 7:25-26; Revelation 20:1-3).
    2. This millennial kingdom will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land that they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). After rejecting their Messiah, Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26), but will again be restored through repentance and faith in Christ to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans 11:25-29).
    3. This time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11:1-9, 65:17-25), and will conclude with the purposeful release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
  4. Final Judgment
    1. Following the release of Satan after the 1,000-year reign of Christ, Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:7-9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10), whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect the unsaved dead and judge them all at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-12). Their eternal lot is hell—the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:12-15)—where they will be cut off from the presence of the Lord forever (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). They will not be annihilated but will suffer everlasting conscious punishment (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46a).
    2. No saved persons will appear before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, for all have been declared righteous by God through faith in Christ, and undergo a separate “bema seat” judgment, where Christ judges to either discard or reward their works (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
  5. Eternity Future
    1. After the closing of the millennium and the final judgment, the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God. The elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells, and the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 21:1-4).
    2. This new earth will be the eternal dwelling place of the saints, where they will forever enjoy fellowship with God and one another (Zephaniah 3:15-17; Revelation 21:3, 22:3-4). Life will be lived in joy forever, without pain, sorrow, sin, or death (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 22:3-5). Amen!

Why a Detailed Doctrinal Statement?

A doctrinal statement is an often-neglected way to minister the Word of God to the people of God. Most churches have a doctrinal statement, but the average member of the church knows little about it, or it is too minimalistic or simplistic to be profitable. For most churches, it exists not as a teaching tool, but as a means to keep certain false teachings out of the church, or as a bare-bones listing of doctrinal beliefs for prospective visitors to review.

FBC’s What We Believe and Teach was written with the conviction that a church’s doctrinal statement should be a carefully written document that defines what the church believes and what members and attendees can expect to be actually taught from Scripture at the church. Rather than attempting to achieve unity by minimizing truth, FBC seeks to bring about true Spirit-led unity that flows from a careful objective analysis of the Spirit’s written Word.

Since our church is non-denominational and is therefore not restricted to follow any denomination’s tradition, we teach from and hold fast to a doctrinal statement that was independently fleshed out by our Elders through the careful study and exegesis of Scripture. In the process, we took the liberty to borrow from other carefully written confessions and doctrinal statements. The careful observer will note many similarities and at times exact quotations from the doctrinal statements of the following churches: Hope Bible Church (Columbia, MD), Grace Community Church (Sun Valley, CA), Countryside Bible Church (Southlake, TX), Faith Bible Church (Spokane, WA).

Though not inspired and not above Scripture, this doctrinal statement gives our church a strong foundation for life and ministry. It is used to train leaders in the church, extend the message that is preached in the worship service, challenge prospective members with organized biblical truth, expose newcomers to a richer understanding of the Bible, and as a tool for discipleship among believers.

May God establish and edify His people through the unfolding of His perfect Word!

Downloads and Distinctives