We believe that the Holy Bible--the 66 books comprising the Old and New Testaments--is the word of God. It is without error in all that it teaches.
We hold the to sufficiency of Scripture alone to provide Christ's church with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding we need to accomplish God's purpose and live joyfully in his will in this present age.
We believe the Bible to be in authority over Christ's church (see under "The Church" below), not the other way around.
The Person of God
The God we worship and proclaim is the God who has revealed himself through his written word, the Bible. He has revealed himself in three persons commonly called the Holy Trinity. The Father is God, but the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit. The Son (Jesus Christ) is God, but the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, but the Holy Spirit is not the Son or the Father.
God is eternal, uncreated, self-existent and utterly holy. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. He is infinite in his wisdom, power, sovereignty and glory.
He is the sole object of our worship. There is none beside him. Our allegiance is to him alone.
In a sense, the entire Bible is the gospel. It begins with the historical account of creation. It ends with the similar account of new creation where sin and death do not exist anymore. We are cautious here to summarize the gospel in such a way that our abbreviation leaves out its essentials.
Between creation (Genesis 1-2) and new creation (Revelation 21-22) we find the account of humanity in rebellion against God. Human history is not the general account of humankind striving for the good with an occasional fall into the evil; it is the account of the spread of corruption, the expansive nature of sin and its power to bring about the ruination of all life. The life of every human being is punctuated by death. It is the perpetual reminder that sin cannot be controlled, lessened or rectified by any ability found in humanity. We are dead in our trespasses and sins, and the dead cannot achieve or even contribute to their own salvation.
Thus, the gospel is God's initiative from beginning to ending. It is his work for his glory alone. This work is variously described in the Bible using such words as salvation, deliverance, restoration, the forgiveness of sins, redemption and reconciliation.
Our sin has alienated from God. Adam and Eve, the first two humans, lived in a paradise in joyful fellowship with their Creator. They were innocent. For reasons beyond what anyone can contemplate, they used their wills to will against their Creator. Humankind, being inseparable from Adam and Eve, took position as God's enemies--severed from the life God had given and deprived of any power to undo what had been done or stop its consequences for all humankind.
God intervened with grace and mercy. Found guilty of sin, we are condemned to die. To be reconciled to our Creator, we must die in the death of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Christ's death on the cross is the penalty paid for our guilt. The sinless "second Adam" dies under God's condemnation for the guilt that the "first Adam" unleashed upon every one of his decedents. God is in Christ reconciling the world to himself. It is the only way.
We cannot fix in ourselves what our sin has damaged. We cannot compensate God for the evil we have committed. We cannot remove or lessen our guilt before God by offering him token acts of righteousness as if a hundred good deeds is more than enough to offset even a minor infraction of God's will. God's holiness is absolute.
Failure to recognize the absolute purity of God's character will result in thinking that sin is not so exceedingly sinful that our guilt cannot be extinguished by an adequate number of good works. God does not judge in any way that suggests he is open to our proposals for our reconciliation to him. He accepts us on his terms alone.
What are his terms of acceptance?
God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything depends on what the sinner does with Jesus Christ. God demands that we repent of our sin and become committed followers of Jesus Christ alone. And this is what shapes our lives here and now. But it is also what determines our everlasting destiny. Saved or lost? Redeemed or remain in captivity to sin? Forgiven or condemned? Reconciled to God or to the fate of all who refuse the command? These aren't just passing religious concerns.
The church is comprised of all who have been reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the essential boundary that distinguishes the church from the world. Wheresoever the Holy Spirit does the work of making the sinner a new creation in Christ Jesus, there (and there alone) is the true church.
The church is an earthly entity that is characterized by joyfully and obediently following Jesus Christ. It is also an entity in heaven (in Christ's presence). There is a vital connection between those who are yet on the earth and those who have died in Christ in this world only to immediately "awaken" in the presence of Jesus in heaven. The union is a mystery, to be sure. But the Bible's teaching is unambiguous. If we have through faith been united to Christ in his death and resurrection, we are members of his church. And only those who have had this transformative experience wrought by the Holy Spirit can be said to be Christ's church.
There is no salvation outside of Christ's true church. The church is people, each of whom has been reconciled to God out of their former alienation from God. By biblical definition the church is people who belong exclusively to Christ by virtue of his redeeming them from a sinful way of life by payment with his own blood (death).
So Christ's church is absolutely distinct from the rest of the human population in this world. Its distinguishing characteristic is its union with Christ in his death and his resurrection. The qualification for entry into Christ's redeemed people is as inviolable as it is clear: union with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. This union is effected when we who are great sinners repent of our sins and place our trust in Christ and Christ alone.
We add a cautionary note. There are vast multitudes of people who "attend" church frequently. They are not Christ's people because of the merit they accrue from merely attending church. There are also multitudes of people who call themselves Christians but have little or nothing to do with "church." It is utterly contradictory to the teaching of Scripture concerning Christ's church. Granted, the multiplication of "churches" in every city and village fosters much confusion and spreads a perilous deception.But the Scriptures are both clear and sufficient to discern even the subtle differences that set the boundary between Christ's own church and the cacophony of religious claims we hear in this present world.