Revised April 2007
Throughout history God has revealed Himself in a variety of ways, and God has preserved the substance of this revelation in the Bible. When we say the Bible, we mean the sixty-six books of the Old Testament and New Testament. These books were written by divinely chosen authors as they were prompted and guarded by the Spirit of God. Although those writers were genuine authors and in most cases not just secretaries taking dictation, the work of the Spirit was so complete that everything written in the biblical books taught the truth without any errors.
Strictly speaking, this inerrancy of the Bible applies to its books as originally written but we can be confident that we have the original text of the Bible in the copies and translations we possess today because God has preserved those writings. In any attempt to define what we ought to believe or how we ought to live, only the Bible can be used as a final authority. Traditional interpretations of the Bible and confessions of faith are useful guides, but they are always open to correction based on further study of the Bible.
(Matthew 5:17-18; John 16:12-15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
There is one, and only one, God who is the creator of this universe. God, who is a God of love and justice, has always existed and will always exist. He is the ultimate authority over all persons and things, and He answers to no higher being or principle. In biblical terms we affirm that He is holy, which means that He is in every way unique and in a category all His own, free from all the limits and imperfections experienced by creatures. In both the majesty of His being and the moral purity of His nature and action, He is uniquely perfect. Although God is one in His being He exists eternally in three divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The idea of the Trinity is a mystery beyond our full comprehension, but we are compelled by the witness of the Bible to affirm it.
(Genesis 1-2; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
The supreme revelation of God is found in Jesus Christ, the God-Man. The Son of God is a fully divine person of the Trinity who has existed eternally. In order to save human beings He added to His divinity a full and perfect human nature and became Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a Jewish virgin, Mary. He lived a sinless life in obedience to God the Father and His obedience culminated in His death as a payment of the penalty for the disobedience of sinful humans. God vindicated Him when he raised Him bodily from the dead, and He ascended to heaven where He is free from the limits of this world. He now intercedes with the Father for us who believe, while we await His personal return.
(Matthew 1:18-23: John 1:1-18; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a fully divine person of the trinity who has existed eternally. The Spirit makes the work of Jesus Christ effective in us by convicting us that we have sinned against God, that we therefore fail to meet God’s standard for human life, that we are subject to God’s judgement for that reason, and that Christ is the answer to our need. Christ gives the Spirit to indwell all those who believe in Him, and the Spirit gives to believers a new spiritual ability to understand God’s Word and live in obedience to it. By indwelling us He sets us apart as God’s children, He continues to transform us into faithful followers of Christ; so in the end we can be fully like Christ. (John 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13)
Satan (also called the Devil) exists as an evil, personal, spirit-being who opposes the work of God in the world. Although created as a good, angelic being, he originated rebellion against God and continues to use his real but limited power to oppose all that would serve the glory of God and the good of humanity.
(Genesis 3:1-15; Job 1:6-12; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
We believe that God created the universe by the power of his word. We believe in the historic happening of creation as revealed in the word of God; the creation week being comprised of seven literal days. (The model for our existing seven day week.)(Deuteronomy 5:12; Genesis 1-2; Mark 10:6)
Human beings were created by God to be like Him. This is necessary in order to be in relationship with Him. They serve as God’s visible representatives in the exercise of responsible dominion over the created world. Our first parents Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying an explicit divine command and thus brought ruin on the human race. The Bible describes this ruin in terms of death: spiritual, physical and eternal death. Spiritual death involves corruption at the core of our being, so that human beings are by nature totally incapable of pleasing God. Physical death is the destiny of all humanity. And ultimately eternal death involves permanent separation from God as the destiny of all those who refuse to repent and respond to God’s offer of grace.(Genesis 1:26-27: 3:1-24; Romans 5:12-19: Ephesians 2:1-3)
Although God could have left all human beings in their sin and guilt, in love, He freely and graciously chose to deliver us from our ruined condition. He provided his eternal Son to become human in order to save us. Christ’s saving work focused on His death, in which He bore the penalty, which is justly ours. Thus satisfying the demands of God’s moral law and turning away the wrath of God, which is poured out on unrepentant sinners. God signified His approval of Christ’s work by raising Him from the dead and exalting Him as Lord in heaven. On the basis of this work of Christ on our behalf, God accepts as perfectly righteous all those who trust in Christ who died and rose again. We come to believe in Christ because God does a special work of grace to overcome our sinful disposition and draw us to Himself. Then God continues this work of grace; so that those who have been drawn to faith in Christ can be preserved in faith and salvation and enter into the perfect conditions of eternal life in the age to come.(John 6:35-40: Romans 3:19-26; 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:18-23)
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally, bodily, and gloriously, just as He promised and His apostles affirmed. In the end, Christ will raise from the dead all who have ever lived, and He will declare God’s perfect judgment concerning every person. Those who have been saved will live eternally in the perfect renewed creation, and those who have been unrepentant will exist eternally in the conscious punishment of hell.(Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20-22)