The central ministry of the local church is the continuous imparting of the Scriptures to the people of God so that they may know God and serve Him in worship and in ministry.
Through their years of study, training, teaching and experience, the elders have come to convictions regarding major theological truths of the Bible. Listed below are those major truths in a simple and concise form. These are the primary doctrines of the Christian faith and reflect the heart of the teaching and preaching ministry of the local church.
We believe the Bible to be the only inspired, infallible, and authoritative word of God. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20f)
The Bible teaches that man is by nature a sinner (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:3). Consequently, he is a member of the fallen race (Romans 5:18-19).
The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through active faith (Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:14-26). Salvation does not come as the result of something we have done but rather because of what God has done. It is a free gift that cannot be earned or deserved (Romans 6:23). We receive that “gift” by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches that baptism is commanded by Christ. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16). Baptism is the immersion in water of a penitent believer. In the New Testament church, every believer was commanded to be baptized (Acts 2:38). Baptism is symbolic and the point at which God does the following:
- Cleansing and forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 10:48).
- The Holy Spirit is given to believers to work freely in them (Acts 2:38; 19:1-5).
- The New Birth (John 3:5).
- Circumcision of the Heart (Colossians 2:11-12).
- Our sinful spirit and old nature dies to sin, is buried and is resurrected in Christ (Romans 6:3-8) – Immersion in water is the only physical act that pictures this so beautifully and accurately.
- Regenerated (Titus 3:5).
- Salvation (I Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16) in partnership with faith, repentance and confession.
- Clothed in Christ and made God’s child (Galatians 3:26-29).
Baptism is not an option for the true believer. It is an acid test of our true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:15,21).
The Bible teaches that once a person is truly saved they are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) and are secure in Christ. The Bible does not teach security in a place called Heaven. (A third of the angels fell from Heaven.) Rather, it teaches security in a person – Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “No one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
The Bible does not teach unconditional security. The condition to our security is that we must truly be saved. Someone who claims to be saved, yet lives a life of continual, habitual sin is like the person Jude warned believers (Us) about in Jude 4: “They are godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ, our Sovereign and Lord.” The person who lives like this is not saved and is living with a false security (Hebrews 3:6, 12-14, 19; 4:1-2, 11-16; 6:4-8; Matthew 7:21-23; Romans 6:19-23).
THE HOLY SPIRIT:
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. A divine Person, eternal (Hebrews 9:14) and co-equal with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; John 14:16-26; 15:26-27; Acts 5:3-4; I Corinthians 12:2-6).
The Holy Spirit:
- Convicts of sin (John 16:8-11)
- Glorifies Jesus Christ (John 15:26)
- Participates in the regeneration of the unsaved (Titus 3:5: John 3:5-8)
- In-dwells the believer (John 14:16-18; I Corinthians 6:19-20)
- Comforts the afflicted (John 14:16, 26)
- Equips the saints with gifts (Romans 12, Ephesians 4; I Corinthians 12)
- Sanctifies (Romans 15:16)
- Unifies the body (Ephesians 4:3)
- Assures us of our salvation (I John 3:24)
- Teaches us the Word of God (John 14:17, 26)
- Prays to the Father (intercedes) in a pleasing and loving manner for believers, along with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26-27, 31-39).
- Seals and protects believers (II Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14).
We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and the evidence of His presence in our lives will be the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to the body for the accomplishment of the Lord’s commission to the church (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:4-11; 14:26b; Ephesians 4:11-16). The exercise or use of any spiritual gift must be operated in accordance with Scriptural principles and under the oversight of the eldership of the local church.
THE LORD’S SUPPER:
The Bible teaches that Jesus established two ordinances: The Lord’s Supper (Communion) and Baptism. Only sincere repentant believers who have carefully examined themselves should partake of this supper (I Corinthians 11:23-32). The Bible does not set a prescribed time for observing this supper, but we make it available each Sunday (Acts 20:7), on a weekly basis, here at our church. Jesus simply said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:
The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to earth and gather His church (I Thessalonians 4:16-18; Titus 2:11-13). This will occur at a time when no one expects it (II Peter 3:10; Matthew 24:35-36). We have the Lord’s word on it (John 14:1-3).
The Bible teaches that the local church is to be governed by a plurality of godly leaders called elders (I Timothy 5:17). The qualifications of these men are found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:6-9. The responsibility of the elders is to shepherd the flock of God (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2-3). The responsibility of the believers is to obey the elders and submit to them in love (I Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17). Some elders will have the responsibility of preaching and teaching in a local fellowship (I Timothy 5:17).
The Bible teaches that all who place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are united as one body, the church, through the one unifying Holy Spirit who immerses (baptizes) us in God’s unity (I Corinthians 12:13). The head of this body is Jesus (Ephesians 5:23b; Colossians 1:18). The task of this “body” of believers is to make disciples in all the world by winning the lost to Christ and equipping them for ministry (Matthew 28:18-20); Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 1:28-29).
The Bible teaches that if someone is sick they may call for the elders of the church to come and anoint them with oil and pray for them (James 5:14-15).
WORSHIP and PRAISE:
The Bible teaches that God is always worthy of our praise, whether in church worship or when we are by ourselves (Psalm 7, 8 and 9). In fact, we are commanded to praise the Lord and to worship Him (Psalm 150). Our worship and praise to God may express itself in many forms: clapping and shouting (Psalm 47:1); singing (Psalm 95:1-2); bowing and kneeling (Psalm 95:6); lifting hands (Psalm 63:4); or even by playing musical instruments (Psalm 150:3-5). Worship is the pouring out of all that we are in adoration to Him for all that He is. Romans 12:1 teaches us that we are to dedicate our bodies to worshipping God (Colossians 3:16-17, 23-24).
The Bible teaches that we are to follow the steps Jesus gave in Matthew 18:15-20 in the case of a brother or sister guilty of sin. All church discipline should be redemptive and restorative in nature (Galatians 6:1-2). Accusations of sin must be dealt with in purity, righteousness and impartiality (Matthew 7:2-5; I Timothy 5:21-25). Sins such as immorality are to be dealt with lovingly and precisely (I Corinthians 5:1-5). Believers are instructed in Scripture to judge other believers (I Corinthians 5:12). And they are to be obedient and submissive to the spiritual leaders God has placed in the church (Hebrews 13:17). The steps of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 are as follows:
STEP ONE – You have first-hand knowledge of sin in someone’s life. You go to them privately and confront them (Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP TWO – You go back and confront them again with two or three spiritually strong individuals (Galatians 6:1; I Corinthians 6:4-5) who serve as witnesses of this sin and can verify it (Matthew 18:16; Deuteronomy 19:15; I Timothy 5:19). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP THREE – You take this matter before the leaders of the church (Matthew 18:17;
I Timothy 5:19-20). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP FOUR – You withdraw fellowship from this person (Matthew 18:17; I Corinthians 5:5;
I Timothy 1:19-20; 5:20; II Thessalonians 3:14-15). If they repent, you have won them back.
If they don’t repent…
STEP FIVE – Have nothing to do with them (Romans 16:17-19; II Thessalonians 3:6).
You have done everything you can do (Ezekiel 33:7-9).
If they don’t repent, it may mean several things:
- They may not even be saved (I John 3:6; James 5:19-20).
- If they are saved, they may be facing some severe chastisement and discipline from God (Hebrews 12:6; I Corinthians 11:30).
- God may just take their life (I John 5:16; I Corinthians 11:30).