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What we Believe

What we Believe

Right doctrine always proceeds right living. Why? Because Jesus said "the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)  Additionally, the freedom to live rightly is defined by love that "rejoices in the truth." (1 Corinthians 13:6) Therefore, Jesus was insistant that we hold right doctrine (Matt 16: 6,12), and Paul said, "Retain the standard of sound words...guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you." (2 Tim.1:13-14)  In light of this, we are deeply committed to knowing, teaching, and applying the fundamental doctrines of the "faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 3)  The following is our Statement of Faith.

Doctrine of Scripture

We believe and teach that the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament together comprise the entire written Word of God, the supreme and sole authority of Christian faith and practice. The Scripture was given in the original manuscripts through the Holy Spirit by verbal (every word), plenary (complete) inspiration and thus is infallible, true and free of error or contradiction. No other writing, experiences, tongues, prophesies, visions, revelations or traditions of any kind are inspired in this sense. (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

Doctrine of God

We believe in and teach one triune God, eternally existing in three Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. The attributes of God include, but are not limited to, His holiness, His sovereignty, His omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, and immutability. Each Person of the Godhead executes distinct but complementary offices in the great work of redemption. (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 99:5; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19-20; Mark 12:29; John 1:1-8, 5:27, 6:27; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 8:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:1-3; James 2:19; Revelation 1:4-6).

Doctrine of Jesus Christ

We believe and teach that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became fully man, without ceasing to be fully God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that he might reveal God and redeem sinful men. He lived a totally sinless and perfect life and thus became God's perfect sacrifice for man's sin. He was made to be sin and a curse for us. Jesus Christ thus accomplished our redemption through His substitutionary death on the cross; all who believe on Him are justified solely on the basis of His shed blood, and given assurance by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ then ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our high priest, He fulfills the ministries of representative, intercessor, and advocate. (Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; Acts 1:9-10; Romans 3:24-25, 8:34; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:15, 2:5; Hebrews 2:9, 7:25, 9:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2:24; 1 John 2:1-2).

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with the Father and Son and of the same nature. He was active in creation, and in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled. Also, He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment and bears witness to the truth. In addition, He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption, as well as teaching, sanctifying, comforting and bestowing spiritual gift(s) upon each believer. Furthermore, it is God's command that all be filled with the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-13; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).

Doctrine of Creation

We believe and teach the Genesis account of creation as being neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate, creative acts of God. Further, we believe and teach the origin of creation and all physical aspects of creation were the works of the Godhead and refute such things as Pantheism (the belief that God is everything and that everything is God, thus confusing God with nature, matter with spirit, and the Creator with the things He has created,) Polytheism (the belief that there is more than one God,) and Theistic Evolution (the belief that attempts to reconcile creation with the theory of the evolutionary process.) (Genesis 1:1; Job 26:3; Psalm 102:25; Colossians 1:16).

Doctrine of Man

We believe and teach that man was created in the image and likeness of God (sinless and innocent), but that by disobedience to his Creator in the Garden of Eden he incurred the penalty of both physical and spiritual death. In Adam's sin the whole race fell, and thus totally lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from God, and subject to the power of the devil. Because man is totally depraved he is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. He is without excuse and under the just condemnation of a Holy God. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 17; John 5:40, 6:53; Romans 1:18-32, 3:22-23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12; 1 John 3:8).

Doctrine of Salvation

We believe and teach that the salvation of sinners is the gift of God brought to man by His grace, and received by personal faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. A person must repent of his sin and by faith receive and trust the Person and provision of Jesus Christ alone in order to be saved. This is the instantaneous act of being born again by the Holy Spirit. Intellectual agreement to the facts of the gospel is alone insufficient. An understanding of the truth must be mixed with a volitional decision to fully and unconditionally trust Jesus for one's salvation with the faith which God gives to the repentant sinner. Because of the depravity of man, salvation is wholly of God. Upon man being regenerated by God, he possesses two natures - the new righteous nature of God and the old sinful nature of Adam. These two natures are in constant conflict within every believer. As the believer yields to the leading of the Holy Spirit, he is controlled by the new nature. However, as long as man lives, the old sin nature will always be present. (Isaiah 64:6; John 1:12, 3:5, 18; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10; Philippians 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 23).

Doctrine of Eternal Security

We believe and teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power through faith and are thus secure in Christ forever; it is impossible for a truly born-again person to ever lose his salvation. It is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word, which however, clearly forbids the abuse of this truth as an occasion to live in sin. (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Peter 1:5).

Doctrine of Separation

We believe and teach that all the saved are to live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. This includes personal holy living where we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, thus bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Victory in walking in a Christ-honoring way comes as we submit ourselves to the work and power of the Holy Spirit. Submission results in obedience which in turn results in fruitfulness in the Christian life. In addition, separation from all sinful pleasures, practices, and secret associations is commanded by God. Further we believe in and teach separation from ecumenical efforts and other movements which are contrary to the doctrinal conviction of the Open Door Fellowship. (Romans 6:1-2, 12:1-2, 13:13-14, 14:13, 16:17; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-15; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 1:9-11).

Doctrine of the Church

We believe and teach that the Church, as an organism, is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, consisting of all born-again persons. The Church was formed on the day of Pentecost and is distinct from the nation of Israel. In addition to the Church universal (also called the body of Christ,) Jesus ordained the local church as a New Testament institution unknown to the Old Testament prophets. Every Christian should be an active member of a local Bible-centered church, which is a congregation of baptized believers who together observe the ordinances of Christ, exercise their spiritual gift(s), grow in the Word, worship God, have fellowship with other believers, and help promote evangelism in the world. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27).

Doctrine of Church Ordinances

We believe and teach that there are two ordinances that are symbolic, not sacramental, which Christians are commanded to observe: water baptism and the Lord's Supper. Christian baptism by immersion, which we practice, is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a born-again believer showing his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It symbolically pictures the essential facts in redemption - the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe and teach that it gives public testimony to what has taken place in the heart of the believer - death to sin and resurrection to walk in newness of life. Although baptism has no saving merit, we believe and teach that it is an act of obedience following salvation and a prerequisite for local church membership. We believe and teach that the Lord's Supper is also a symbolic ordinance which pictures Christ's perfect and sinless body and His shed blood for our redemption. It is thus a commemoration of the Lord's death to be observed until He comes for His Church. The Lord's Supper is to be taken only by believers, and should be received only after careful self-examination. (Matthew 3:16, 28:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 8:16, 19:5; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34).

Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts

We believe and teach that for the purpose of winning the lost and strengthening the believers, the Holy Spirit bestows upon believers spiritual gifts, according to His own choosing. Initially, some of these gifts (such as speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and other miraculous gifts) were given as signs for confirmation of the spoken word of the disciples and apostles. With the completion of the New Testament Canon of Scripture these sign gifts were no longer necessary and thus ceased to exist. However, other gifts continue in the Church today and are to be exercised by the believer in his service for God. Further, we believe and teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15; 1 Peter 4:10).

Doctrine of Satan and Demons

We believe in and teach the personality of Satan, the fallen Lucifer, the Devil; that he is the god of this age, author of all powers of darkness and sin, and the cause of man's temptation and ultimate fall. He is the open and declared enemy of God and man, whose final doom shall be eternal punishment in the lake of fire. We believe and teach that Christ defeated Satan on the cross. We further believe and teach that demons are Satan's helpers and can possess or control the lives of unbelievers and influence believers today. (Genesis 3:14-15; Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Col. 2:15; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:10).

Doctrine of the Eternal State

We believe in and teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life in heaven, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. We believe and teach that heaven is a place of eternal beauty and perfection where all the redeemed will forever worship the Lord Jesus Christ in His presence. Also, we believe and teach that the lake of fire is a literal place where all those who reject Jesus Christ will spend a conscious existence in physical, mental, spiritual, and eternal suffering and separation from God. (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43- 48; Luke 16:19-26, 23:43; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).

Doctrine of Future Events

We believe in and teach the imminent, personal, bodily, pre-millennial return of Christ for His Church; at that moment (known as the Rapture), the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies. Those believers living when He returns shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. We further believe and teach that following this event, there will be a seven year tribulation period on earth during which the Antichrist will be revealed and rule with demonic power. This will then be immediately followed by Christ gloriously returning with His Church to establish a literal one thousand-year reign on earth during which Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit. Following this reign there will then be the final judgment of Satan and all the wicked, and finally the coming of the New Jerusalem ushering in eternity for Jesus and His Bride. (Zechariah 14:4-11; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thess 1:10; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Thess 5:1-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Hebrews 9:27; Jude 14-15; Revelation 3:10, 9:1-12, 19:11-16, 20:1-6, 21:2-3, 9).

Doctrine of Missions

We believe and teach that it is the responsibility and privilege of every believer individually and collectively through the local church, to endeavor to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations. This is a task that begins in our local communities and extends extends to distant foreign lands. We believe and teach that this must be a priority of the local church in obedience and fulfillment of the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20).

Doctrine of Giving

We believe and teach that the doctrine of systematic, proportional giving is a principle taught throughout the Bible. It is God’s appointed method to finance the operation of the local church and its outreach ministries. We teach that the regular attendees and members of this church should give regularly to its causes as the Lord enables. We believe and teach that the local church should take first priority in one’s giving. (Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:8, 10; Matthew 6:1, 19-20; Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

Human Sexuality

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as either male or female. These two distinct, complementary sexes together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). We believe and teach that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex (Gen. 2:24, 19:5, 13, 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom 1:26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1, 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4). We believe and teach that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:24; Rom 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23). Additionally, any disagreement with one’s biological sex or attempt to change it by hormones, surgery or any other means is a sinful rejection of the image of God within that person and forbidden by God.