Sequim Bible Church Constitution
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40
“Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
“...Let all things be done for edification.” 1 Corinthians 14:26
“...Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus....” Colossians 3:17
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this Body of Believers shall be “SEQUIM BIBLE CHURCH." Sequim Bible Church shall be a denominationally unrelated, independent, Bible-believing church. We, the members of said church, do ordain and establish the following Articles to which we voluntarily submit ourselves:
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
The purpose of Sequim Bible Church is to glorify God by instituting and maintaining a separated testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ, reaching the unsaved through the preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ at home and abroad, administering the Word for the edification of believers, and providing a place for Christian fellowship and the worship of Almighty God.
ARTICLE III – DOCTRINE
This document states the doctrinal position and teaching of Sequim Bible Church. It is recognized that there will be those who choose to fellowship with us who do not agree on all points with our doctrinal teaching position. We welcome these to participate freely with us, yet at the same time cannot permit doctrines to be taught within our body that are contrary to what we believe the Bible communicates. It is our prayer that this document will encourage our body to greater study of the Word and a more accurate understanding of God and application of His Truth. Revisions of this statement to more clearly align with God’s Word remains at the sole discretion of the Elders, with the understanding that such changes will be communicated to and confirmed by the members of the church.
Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith
At Sequim Bible Church we respect that people hold a variety of
doctrinal positions. With the assumption and aim that we are all continually
submitting ourselves to Scripture, we will over time come to more and more
doctrinal unity. However, there are some fundamental truths that a person must
affirm if they desire to consistently fellowship within our local body of
- We believe that
there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy
- We believe in the
deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His
miracles, His death (in our place, taking our penalty), His bodily
resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal
future return in power and glory.
- We believe in the
present ministry of the Holy Spirit whose indwelling enables every Christian to
live a godly life.
- We believe the
Bible is the inspired, inerrant and authoritative Word of God, sufficient for
all that pertains to life and godliness.
- We believe that
all mankind is lost as sinners and must turn to Christ in saving faith and
repentance through regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the
resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved to eternal life with
Christ and the lost to eternal punishment in hell.
Section 1. The Bible
The Bible contains the sixty-six books of the Old Testament and New Testament and was finished with the completion of the New Testament (1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Jude 3; Rev. 22:18-19).
We teach and refer to God's disclosure of Himself to mankind as revelation; three different aspects of revelation are described below:
The first, general revelation, is considered God's foundational revelation based on creation and demonstrated in history, nature, and the conscience (Ps. 19:1-6; Matt. 5:45; Rom. 1:18-20; 2:14-15; Acts 14:16-17; 17:22-27). It is general in that it is Truth that is set before all humanity (Rom. 1:17-18; 2:14-15). This aspect of "general" does not mean that it refers to all truth. There are things that are true which are not general revelation. It is clear and irrefutable that general revelation is known intuitively by all human beings (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:19). It is misleading to assign the category of "revelation" to humanly deduced or discovered facts or theories (example: psychology). If something is revelation, then God said it, and it is Truth: when God speaks Truth we don't evaluate or test it, we trust and obey it. It is authoritative Truth that condemns rejecters for all eternity (Rom. 1:20). The second, God's special revelation, is found in the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, the Bible (John 1:1, 14-18; Rom. 1:16; 10:14-17; Heb. 1:1-2). And the third, progressive revelation, is a term used to explain that throughout human history in the context of time, God has revealed more and more of His person, character, and will. Although in history God did modify how He dealt with specific people within His sovereign plan, no previous revelation was ever contradicted (Heb. 1:1-2).
We teach the inspiration of Scripture, meaning that it is God-breathed and that it is God’s written revelation to man. The sixty-six books of the Bible are given to us by the Holy Spirit and constitute the Word of God which is equally God-breathed in all its parts (plenary) including each and every word (verbally) in the original writings (John 16:12-13; 1 Cor. 2:7-14; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Word of God, in whole and in part, is absolutely inerrant in the original documents. (Isa. 30:8; Matt. 5:18; John 10:35; 2 Tim. 3:16). Although each passage of Scripture may have several applications, there is only one true interpretation. This one true interpretation is the intended meaning of the author and is found as one diligently applies the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation under the illumination of the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of all believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. (John 7:17; 1 Cor. 2:7-15; Heb. 2:1; 1 John 2:20). God’s Word is the final authority and the only infallible rule of faith and practice for individual believers and the church (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Peter 1:3).
The Bible (the completed canon of Scripture) contains the sixty-six books of the Old Testament and New Testament. No church council or group of men made certain books canonical. Rather, these sixty-six books were recognized as clearly inspired by God. The primary issue for inclusion into the Canon was authorship. During the two primary times when God gave written revelation (Old and New Testaments), the main issue was whether or not the author was a spokesman for God such as an Old Testament prophet, or a New Testament apostle. (Eph. 2:20; Heb. 2:3-4; 2 Peter 1:20-21). We believe all of Scripture was authored by God and written by men as they were led by the Holy Spirit. The writers of Scripture recognized the divine inspiration of their writings (Jer. 1:4; Ezek. 3:10-11; Amos 7:15-17; John 14:26; 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Peter 3:15-16). The New Testament writers recognized the Old Testament as inspired Scripture along with recognizing the inspiration of other New Testament writers’ work. (Luke 24:44; John 10:35; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 15:3; Gal. 3:8; 1 Tim. 5:18; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:16). Since the completion of the New Testament, God has given no further written revelation. All things necessary for the Christian faith are revealed in the Old Testament and New Testament (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2; Jude 3). There are serious consequences for those who add to or subtract from God's Word (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19).
Section 2. The Godhead
We teach that there is one living and true God. He is a triune God; in unity He is one in essence, but in diversity, eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit and having the same attributes and perfections (Gen.1:1-2; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 45:5-7; 48:16; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14). He is personal, spirit, infinite and perfect (John 4:24; Acts 17:28; 1 Tim. 1:17). When considering the attributes of God, we teach that He is perfect (Ps. 18:30; Matt. 5:48), eternal (Ps. 90:2; Isa. 46:10; 2 Peter 3:8), unlimited by space (1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:24), holy (Job 34:10; Isa. 6:1-3; Matt. 5:48), truthful (Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:4; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 6:18), gracious (Matt. 5:45; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8-9), loving (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8), merciful (Rom. 11:32; Titus 3:5), righteous (Ps. 119:137; 145:17; Hab. 1:13), and just (Rom. 1:18; 2:6-8).
Section 3. God the Father
We teach that God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps. 145:8-9; 1 Cor. 8:6). He is the Father over all creation. (Gen. 1:1-31; Acts 17:29; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 12:9; James 1:17). He is also the Father of Christ (John 2:16-17; 17:5, 24; Acts 13:33; Col. 1:15) and the Father of believers (Matt. 6:8-9; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). As the only absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:16).
Section 4. The Person and Work of Christ
We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity and the eternal and unique Son of God, became truly man, without ceasing to be truly God, by the miracle of the virgin birth. (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:25; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1-2, 14; 10:30; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, voluntarily gave up His life on the Cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice to redeem man, and we believe in His literal physical resurrection from the dead. Since His ascension to the right hand of the Father in Heaven, Christ has been the believer’s Advocate and High Priest (Matt. 28:6;
Luke 24:38-39; Rom. 3:24-25; 5:8; 8:34; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 1:7; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:15; 7:25-26; 9:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2:24; 1 John 2:1). He is the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23; Col. 1:18).
We teach that Christ has an important role in the Old Testament and at times appeared in physical form. In the Old Testament the Angel of the Lord has referred to Himself as God and does the works of God; but after the incarnation we do not know of any appearances of the Angel of the Lord (Gen. 22:1-12; Ex. 3:2-6; Judg. 13:18-22). As a Man there are several instances in the Old Testament where Christ takes on the physical form of a man (Gen. 18:1-2; 32:24-30; Josh. 5:13-15). Dissimilarly, the Father and the Spirit do not take bodily form (John 1:18). There are also numerous Old Testament prophecies that were specifically fulfilled in Christ's first coming (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Isa. 52-53; Mic. 5:2; Ps. 22; 118:22).
We teach that the incarnation is the condescension and humiliation of Christ, where He voluntarily waived the rights and privileges of deity, and took on the limitations of humanity This included Christ's voluntary giving up the full expression of His divine rights and attributes which is commonly referred to as the “Kenosis”. This also involved the unique combination of full deity and true humanity in the person of Christ which is commonly referred to as the “Hypostatic Union” (John 1:14; 6:51; 17:5; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5-9).
We teach that Scripture clearly states the deity of Christ. He explicitly claimed to be God (John 1:1,14; 5:17-18; 8:58; 10:30-33). He was called by divine names (Joel 2:32; Matt. 1:23; Rom. 10:13). He has divine attributes such as being the following: eternal (Mic. 5:2; John 8:58; Rev. 22:13), all powerful (Matt. 8:26-27; 28:18; John 2:21; 5:21-22; 10:18), all knowing (Matt. 12:25; Mark 2:8; John 1:48; 2:25; 16:30; 21:17), and unchanging (Heb. 13:8). He did divine works such as: creation (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2), forgiving sins (Matt. 9:2) and raising the dead (Luke 7:14-15; 8:54-55; John 11:25; 12:9). He also willingly received worship as God (John 5:23; 20:28; Phil. 2:9-11).
We teach that His sinless humanity is clearly stated throughout Scripture. Christ had to be man to fully represent fallen humanity (1 Cor. 15:21-22; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:17). He had a human birth [by a virgin] (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:2-23; Gal. 4:4). He had human growth (Luke 2:52; Phil. 2:5-8). He had human functions and emotions (Luke 24:39; John 11:35; 19:28). He had perfect humanity (Luke 1:35; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). He has remained human after His ascension (Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5; Phil. 3:20-21). Although Christ was fully man, He was incapable of sinning because His deity was not dependent on the weakness of humanity. The reality of His being tempted does not demand the ability to sin (Luke 4:1-13; Heb. 4:15). The purpose of temptation was not to see if Christ could sin, but to show that He could not sin. The Holy Spirit led Christ into the wilderness to be tempted. If Jesus could have sinned, then the Holy Spirit solicited Him to sin (Matt. 4:1). Christ only does what the Father does. Therefore, to say Christ could sin would demand that God the Father could sin as well (John 5:19). Christ could not sin in eternity past or eternity future, and thus not during His temptation on earth. If it was possible for Christ to sin while on earth, then He could still sin now (Heb. 13:8). If Jesus were only a man like Adam, He would have had the potential to sin. But because He was fully God and fully man and both natures make up One Person, He could not have sinned.
We teach that the resurrection of Christ is the basis for our entire salvation. Our salvation rests in and is dependent on the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 4:25; 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:17; 1 Peter 1:3). Evidence of His resurrection is revealed in the missing body (Matt. 28:6; John 20:6-8), the testimony of the guards (Matt. 28:11-12), the eye witnesses (Luke 24:39; Acts 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:6), and the transformation of the disciples (Acts 2). The resurrection was the work of the Trinity; all three members were involved (John 10:18; Rom. 8:11; Gal. 1:1).
We teach that Christ was restored to His former state of full and unrestricted deity (John 17:5; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 1:3). In His present glory with the Father He intercedes for believers (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:23-25), helps the believer when tempted (Heb. 2:18), is the believer's saving Mediator
(1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:15), and is preparing a place for His children
Section 5. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and not merely a force but fully God (Ps. 139:7-10; John 14:26; 16:8-13; Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 5:5; 15:30; 1 Cor. 2:10; Heb. 9:14). He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is the supernatural agent in regeneration and sanctification, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the Day of Redemption. We believe that He is the Divine Teacher, Who guides believers into all truth, and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all spiritual gifts, and that they are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today (John 16:8-13; Rom. 8:9, 13; 1 Cor. 3:16; 12:12-14; Eph. 1:13-14; 3:16; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
Section 6. Angels
We teach that the holy angels were created by God to serve and worship Him (Neh. 9:6; Ps. 103:20-21; 148:2; Isa. 6:3; John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:6-7,14). They are spirit beings (Matt. 22:30; Luke 24:39; Heb. 1:14). They are rational, moral, and immortal beings (Matt. 24:36; Luke 20:34-36; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 2:4). They were created superior to mankind, yet, will be judged by mankind (1 Cor. 6:3; Heb. 2:6-7; 2 Peter 2:10-11). They serve mankind (Heb. 1:14). And they have a role in the Second Coming (Mark 13:27; 2 Thess. 1:7b).
We teach that Satan rebelled against his Creator and led numerous angels in his fall who are thus called fallen angels (also called demons). (Job 1:6-7; Ezek. 28:11-19; Rev. 12:3-4). Angels were created holy, but some sinned (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Satan was defeated by Christ at the cross, yet continues as the "god of this world" until his final judgment and condemnation (Rom. 16:20; Col. 2:15; Rev. 20:1-10). He will be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41;
Rev. 20:10). Satan and demons are active in the world (Matt. 8:16; Eph. 6:12).
Section 7. Man
We teach that man was created by God, male and female, in the image and likeness of God with an intellect, emotion, and will (Gen. 1) and totally free of sin (Gen. 2). The institution of marriage has been ordained by God, and defined by Him, as being between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5). Mankind's primary reason for being is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever (Isa. 43:7; Col. 1:16). Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God resulted in a loss of innocence along with spiritual and physical death. (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-19; Ps. 14:1-3; 51:5). In Adam’s sin the entire human race fell and inherited a sinful nature. Mankind also became alienated from God and incapable of pleasing Him (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3).
We teach that unregenerate man is fundamentally evil to the core of his being. There is no part of man that is left untouched by sin. His mind, will, and body are affected by evil (Eccl. 7:20; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:14, 23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19). The Scriptures reject the false idea that all people struggle with sin yet are inherently good. From the point of conception all mankind is sinful in every aspect of his being (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 3:23). Man is totally depraved and of himself is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 12). Total depravity is not utter depravity. He is not as wicked as he possibly could be (Isa. 64:6). Only by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit may he be brought out of this state of spiritual death. It is God who makes him alive as he becomes His workmanship (Jer. 13:23; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 2:1-10; Titus 3:5; 1 John 1:8-10). We teach that, because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Ps. 14:1-3; Jer. 17:9;
Rom. 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).
We teach that man has a free will in that God has given him the capacity to choose that which he desires (Deut. 30:19-20; Matt. 11:28; John 7:37; Rom. 10:21). No unregenerate human being desires God; and because he only chooses according to his desires, he always chooses to sin (Ps. 14:1-3; Mark 7:21-23; John 8:34; Rom. 8:5-8;). Fallen human beings have free will but lack true liberty. The royal liberty of which the Bible speaks is man’s freedom or power to choose Christ as his own. Until his heart is changed by the Holy Spirit, he has no desire for Christ (John 6:44, 65; James 1:13-15). For him to choose Christ, God must change his heart. He gives man a desire for Himself that he otherwise would not have. The unregenerate are never forced against their will. Rather, a person's will is changed without his/her permission when God transforms the disposition of the heart and plants a desire for Himself within (Prov. 5:22; John 6:44, 65; 15:16; Rom. 6:20; Eph. 2:4-10; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3). Unlike the rest of God's created beings (angels and animals) mankind is redeemable from his sin by the grace of God through the death of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:8-10, 18; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Section 8. Salvation
We teach that salvation is the gift of God, brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of man’s sins (John 1:12-13; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
We teach that regeneration is an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit through the truth of the Word of God, which enables man to believe the Gospel and imparts new life to him (John 1:13; 3:3-8; Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:17; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 2:29). Regeneration will result in good works and a transformed life (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 2:10).
We teach that election is an eternal act of God whereby, on the basis of His sovereign will, He chose certain persons, who had no merit, to be the recipients of His special grace and eternal salvation (Mark 13:27; Rom. 8:28-33; Eph. 1:4-11; 2 Thess. 2:13). God's sovereign election is in agreement with mankind's accountability to respond (Deut. 30:19; Matt. 11:28; John 6:37,44; Acts 13:48; Rom. 10:21).
We teach that saving faith is a gift of God which brings a person into an intimate relationship with Christ (Rom. 10:9-10). It is based on God's grace rather than a person's works and, when it is genuine, has several main aspects (Acts 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29; 2 Peter 1:1). The following are not "steps" a person must work through, but are elements that will be present as a total package when there is true saving faith: knowledge of the facts – faith must be based on the facts of the Gospel found in the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:15), assent to this knowledge – a person must agree that the facts of the Scriptures are true (Heb. 11:6), repentance – saving faith includes a turning from sin and turning towards God (Acts 2:38; 20:21; 26:20; 1 Thess. 1:9), and submission to Christ – true saving faith implicitly involves a subjection to the person and will of Christ with a desire and willingness to know, love, and obey Him (Luke 6:46; John 3:36; 17:3; 20:28; Acts 2:36; Rom. 10:9; Phil. 2:9-11; James 2; Rev. 19:16).
We teach that justification is the act of God whereby He declares righteous those who believe in Christ (Rom. 3:20-24; 5:1; 8:33; Phil. 3:9). It is apart from any virtue or work (Col. 2:14; 1 Peter 3:18). The believer's sin is imputed to Christ and Christ's righteousness is imputed to the believer (Rom. 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:14; 1 Peter 3:18).
We teach that sanctification of the believer has more than one aspect. First, there is a positional sanctification where, by the act of God, the believer is made positionally holy and perfect through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 1:2,30; 6:11; Heb. 2:11). Secondly, sanctification is a process where the Holy Spirit ministers to the believer by progressively bringing him into conformity with the character of Christ (John 17:17,19; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:26). And lastly, completion of this process is called glorification which is the act of God which occurs when believers go to be with the Lord whereby their practice is conformed to their position, perfect and blameless without spot or blemish (Rom. 8:23; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2).
We teach that all of the redeemed are kept eternally secure in Christ by the power of God (John 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24; 10:27-30; Rom. 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; Eph. 4:30). We teach assurance of salvation which is the subjective realization by a person that he/she is a child of God and is a ministry of the Spirit to every obedient believer (Rom. 6:15-22; 8:16; 1 John 1:6, 8; 2:3, 9, 10, 15, 23; 3:9, 17, 24; 4:7, 13, 20; 5:1, 10, 13).
Section 9. The Church
We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church, the Bride of Christ, of which Christ is the Head (1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15; 5:23-32; Col. 1:18; Rev. 19:7-8). The formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). The church is a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born again believers in this present age (Eph. 2:11-3:6). The church did not exist in the Old Covenant and was a mystery not revealed until this New Covenant age, and is comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles together in one body (Eph. 3:1-6; 5:32).
We teach that the church exists to glorify God by building itself up in the faith, by instruction of the Word, by fellowship, by prayer, by keeping the ordinances, by advancing and communicating the gospel to the whole world, and by establishing the character of Christ in its members (Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19; Acts 1:8, 2:38-42, 47; Eph. 3:21, 4:13-16; Col. 1:28; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:2, 15; 3:16-17; 1 John 1:3, 2:6). We teach that the establishment and continuity of local gathered churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures and that the members of the one spiritual Body are to form a community together in local visible assemblies. We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; 1 Cor. 11:18-20; Gal. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1; Heb. 10:25).
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ whose authority is mediated through the Scriptures (1 Cor. 2:12-16; 11:3; Eph. 1:22; 4:11-16; Col. 1:18; 2 Tim. 4:1-2). Church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed by His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers in the assembly are elders (also called overseers, bishops, pastors, shepherds, and pastor-teachers) and deacons (those who serve), both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). The elders lead or govern as shepherds under Christ and, as a united group, have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to follow their example, submit to their leadership, and pray for them (1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 5:17-22; Heb. 13:7, 17-18). The elders should determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and governance (Acts 14:23; 15:19, 31; 20:17, 28; 1 Cor. 5:4, 7, 13; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-4). And the deacons are those in the church who serve in capacities delegated to them by the elders
(Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:8-13).
We teach the importance of discipleship and mutual accountability of all believers to each other. The church is responsible for corrective discipline of the congregation in unrepentant sin. This is to be done in accordance with the standards of Scripture and with the goal of restoring the one in sin and preserving the purity of the church (Matt. 18:1-22; 28:19-20; Acts 5:1-11; Rom. 12:1-21; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Gal. 6:1; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 1:10-16).
We teach that all believers are called to the work of service (Matt. 20:24-28; Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 2:10, 4:12; Rev. 22:12). The church is the primary vehicle God is using in the present age to accomplish His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:7-12). Second, He gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11). While all believers in the local church are equal before God in their person and standing in Jesus Christ, they differ in their God-ordained roles and their spiritual giftedness (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 11:3, 12:4; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 5:22-23; 1 Tim. 2:9-15). Every believer receives a unique blend of the spiritual gifts. It is the responsibility of every believer to use their gifts for the purpose of edifying the church and glorifying God through Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 12:6, 11; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the Apostles' message; and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another (2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4). The temporary miraculous gifts ceased to be evident as the church became established (1 Cor. 13:8-12).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper, neither of which are necessary for salvation. We teach that Christian baptism by immersion into water is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer professing his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life. It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:38-42; 8:36-39; Rom. 6:1-11). The Lord's Supper is a regular practice of the corporate church whereby the death of Christ is commemorated and proclaimed as the only sacrifice for sin and as the only means of forgiveness and entrance into the New Covenant until He comes. The Lord’s Supper should always be preceded by solemn self-examination and taken with thanksgiving and joy in the heart. The elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ. The Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people corporately (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Cor. 10:16, 11:23-32).
We teach that believers should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Lord and Savior; this does not mean we are to disassociate from this world, but to live in such a manner as to be a living example of who Christ is (John 2:15-17; 17:14-19; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Gal. 5:16-24; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 John 1:9-11).
Section 10. Last Things
Death – We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Rev. 6:9-11); that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23); that there is a separation of soul and body (Phil. 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6), when the soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (1 Cor. 15:35-44, 50-54; Phil. 3:21). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:8). We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Rom. 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Cor. 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Dan. 12:2; John 5:29; Rev. 20:13-15). We teach that any concept of annihilation of the wicked or anything less than a literal and eternal punishment in hell of the wicked is unscriptural (Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:5-12; Rev. 14:9-13; 20:10-15). We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Rev. 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrected body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41-46), cut off from eternal life with God forever in an eternal conscious punishment (Dan. 12:2; Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).
The Rapture – We teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:16; 5:9; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10) to translate His church from this earth (the rapture) (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thess. 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). Believers should comfort and encourage one another with the truth of the rapture (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11), pursue righteous and holy living (1 Cor. 15:58; Titus 2:11-12), and be filled with hope and expectation (John 14:1-3; Titus 2:13).
The Tribulation – We teach that following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thess. 2:7-12; Rev. 6-16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matt. 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 2:7-12; Rev. 19:11-21) at which time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Dan. 12:2-3; Rev. 20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24:15-31; 25:31-46) as well as some of the judgments associated with “the day of the LORD” (Joel 2:30-32; 3:14; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:1,5; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2). We teach that the future tribulation should cause believers to warn unbelievers to repent and believe the gospel (Ps. 2:10-12; Joel 2:11-13; 1 Thess. 5:2-3; Rev. 3:3; 14:6-7; 16:15), live righteously (1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3:10-14), glory in God’s justice and vindication of the righteous (2 Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 14:15-18; 15:2-4; 16:5-7), and look forward to Jesus’ return and kingdom (Rev. 11:15-18).
The Second Coming and Millennium – We teach that, after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matt. 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezek. 37:21-28; Dan. 7:17-22; Rev. 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Dan. 7:17-27; Rev. 20:1-7). We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to ethnic Israel
(Isa. 65:17-25; Ezek. 37:21-28; Zech. 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deut. 28:15-68). The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matt. 21:43; Rom. 11:1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-32; Rom. 11:25-29). We teach that this time of the Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isa. 11; 65:17-25; Ezek. 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Rev. 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost – We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the city of Jerusalem, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10), whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge all unbelievers from the least to the greatest at the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15).
Eternity – We teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth will be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Eph. 5:5; Rev. 20:15, 21-22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will forever worship, serve, love, and enjoy fellowship with God and with one another (Ps. 16:11; John 17:3; Rev. 7:15; Rev. 21, 22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father that in every realm the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Cor. 15:24-28).