We believe that all believers in Jesus Christ are placed by the Holy Spirit into the universal body of Christ, which is the church, the bride of Christ. We teach that the church age began on the day of Pentecost and is completely distinct from Israel. We believe that the church age will be consummated at the rapture when we will meet Christ in the air. We believe that members of the universal body of Christ are directed to gather themselves together in local assemblies for public worship, exhortation, prayer, and edification. We believe the character of the local church should reflect the character of Jesus Christ and thus church discipline is to be practiced, according to the principles set forth in Scripture for those erring members. (1 Cor. 10:32, 1 Cor. 12:12-13; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-8; Acts 2:1-21, 38-47; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Th. 4:13-18; Eph. 1:22-23, Eph. 5:25-27; Heb. 10:25; 1 Pt. 1:13-21; Mat. 18:15-22; 1 Cor. 5:1-13)
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of His gifts upon the members of the body and that each and every believer has been given certain spiritual gifts that are to be exercised in the church for the edification and growth of the body. We believe that the gifts of tongues, sign miracles, and healings gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and its authority established. We believe that the Word of God is the sole test for the authenticity of a man’s message today, negating the need for such gifts. We believe that no one today possesses those gifts. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with His own will for the sick and the afflicted. (Rom. 12:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-14; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12; 1 Pt. 4:10-11; Jam. 5:14-16)
We believe that Jesus Christ is the one supreme authority for the church. We believe that Christ has ordained the offices of elder and deacon as instruments of leadership and oversight in the local church. (Col. 1:17-18; Eph. 1:22-23, Eph. 4:11;Phil. 1:1; Acts 6:1-8, Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pt. 5:1-5)
1. Elders – We believe God has ordained the office of elder (also termed pastor, pastor-teacher, overseer, and shepherd) as the spiritual overseers over the flock. We believe they are to be submitted to as ones who must give an account for the souls entrusted to their care. We believe that elders must meet the qualifications set forth in Scripture and that they should be gifted in such a manner as to provide spiritual oversight and attend primarily to the ministry of the Word of God and prayer.
2. Deacons – We believe that God has ordained the office of deacon to oversee the ministry of the physical needs of the body and the day to day operations of the church. We believe they are to serve as co-laborers with the elders in the work of the ministry and be gifted in such a manner as to provide wisdom and mercy in attending to the ministry of the needs of the flock. We believe that these men must meet the qualifications of the office as set forth in Scripture.
1. Baptism – We believe water baptism is an act of obedience to the command of our Lord that demonstrates to all the inward act of conversion. We believe it identifies one with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We practice Christian baptism by immersion as a solemn testimony of the believer. We believe baptism must only be administered to those who have experienced the new birth, but never as a condition for new birth. (Acts 2:28-42, Acts 8:34-38; Rom. 6:1-11; Eph. 2:8-9)
2. Communion – We believe that the Lord’s Supper is to be administered to the church as a celebration and memorial of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ until He returns. We believe that the wine and the bread are only representations of the body and blood of Christ and are in no manner a means of saving grace. We believe communion is to be practiced only by believers after solemn self examination and confession. (1 Cor. 11:28-32; Mark 14:22-25)