onward statement of faith

I. The Scriptures

We believed that men who were divinely inspired wrote the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible is God explaining Himself to humankind, therefore it is the perfect treasure of divine teaching from God Himself. The primary purpose of the Scriptures is the Salvation of humankind, and it is without error. The Scriptures reveal not only Truth, but also the principles by which God will judge us. God’s Word lasts forever. For these reasons, all Scripture is completely true and is completely correct. It will remain the center of Christianity until the end of the world. It is the most excellent ideal. It is with this ideal that all human behavior, all statements of belief, and all religious opinions should be tested. All Scripture is proof of the Person of Jesus Christ. He is the center of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

II. God

We believe that there is one and only one living and true God, an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being. His name is YAHWEH and He is the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is never- ending in purity. God is perfect. God is all powerful. God is all knowing. He knows about all things in the past, present, and future. He knows about all of the future decisions that His free created beings will make. To Him we owe the highest love, respect, and obedience. The never-ending God shows Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three Persons have separate personal characteristics. There is no difference in their nature, essence, or being. Within the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. God is a plurality of oneness – One God with a plurality of Persons. The Trinitarian God-head has a hierarchy – Father, Son and Spirit.

A. God the Father

We believe that God as Father is the first Person of the Trinitarian God–head. His personal name is YAHWEH in the Scriptures and He rules with kind care over His universe, His creatures, and human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all-powerful. He is all knowing. He is all loving. He is all wise. God is Father to people who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all people.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

B. God the Son

We believe that Jesus Christ is the never-ending Son of God and that He is the second Person of the Trinitarian God-head. He became a human man when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of a virgin. Jesus completely showed and did the will of God. He became a human being with all the stress and needs of human beings. He identified completely with humans. Even though He was human, He had no sin. He respected the divine law and personally obeyed God His Father. When He died for others on the cross, He made a way for the salvation of people from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body, and then appeared to His disciples. They knew that He was the person who was with them before His death on the cross. He went up into heaven. He is now honored at the right hand of God and is the One Mediator. He is completely and wholly God and also, He is completely and wholly man. In Him God and people are brought together. He will return in power and majesty to judge the world. When He returns, He will complete His work of salvation.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1- 20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12- 15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God the Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and is completely divine. He is the third Person of the Trinitarian God-head. He influenced holy men of Bible times to write the Scriptures. By explanation He allows people to understand truth and He honors Christ. He also shows people their sin, yet shows people the worthiness of Christ. He shows people their punishment, and showing them there need for a Savior. He is the source of rebirth. At the moment of rebirth, He takes every believer into the Body of Christ. He grows believers into mature Christians. He comforts believers. He gives spiritual gifts to believers. With these gifts, believers can serve God through His church. He keeps the believer safe until the day of the last salvation. His presence in the Christian is the promise that God will make the believer completely like Christ. He explains and gives power to the believer and to the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

III. People and Sin

We believe that humankind is a special creation of God. People are made in God’s image and likeness and God created people as male and female. They are the greatest work of His creation. Being made male or female by God is a part of the goodness of God’s creation. God makes humankind in His image – A singular race with plural beings (male and female). God made humankind in His Plurality of Oneness essence. God made one man and then took from that one man and made woman. God brought the woman he took from the man back to the man and they became one flesh. In the beginning Adam and Eve were innocent of sin, but aware of the Words and Commands of God. They were given the gift of freedom of choice by the Creator, and with this free choice Adam and Eve sinned against God. This brought sin to all people in the entire world. Through the temptation of Satan, Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God and lost their original innocence. Now all people inherit a life and a background willing to sin. As a result, as soon as they are able to make right decisions and actions, they become sinners. We all are guilty of sin. Sin is lawlessness. Only the kindness of God can bring people into His holy fellowship and only the kindness of God can let humans complete the creative purpose of God. The godliness of all people is obvious, because God made human beings in His own likeness. The godliness of all people is obvious, because Christ died for all people, therefore every person of every race should receive respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9- 11, I John 3:4

IV. Salvation

We believe that Salvation includes the whole person and is an act of grace alone. Salvation is given to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father and the application of the Spirit, freely took upon Him our nature without sin; honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death, burial and resurrection made full atonement for our sins. Jesus Christ by His own blood brought never-ending salvation to the believer. Salvation includes being accepted just as you are when you turn from your sin. Salvation includes being set apart for His work. Salvation includes being made to worship God. There is no salvation without personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus is now enthroned in heaven and is in every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior.

A. We believe that Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s kindness. Believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus by being “born again”. It is a change of heart created by the Holy Spirit and in connection with divine Truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel, before human faith is present. The Holy Spirit shows us our sin. The sinner begins by turning from sin and turning to God. The sinner has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turning from sin and turning to God and faith are experiences of God’s kindness and grace that are never separated. Repentance is a real turning from sin to God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the whole person to Him as Lord and Savior. Regeneration is an eternal act of the Spirit that gives a person the initial faith to place in Jesus.

B. We believe that Justification is God’s kind and complete pardon from sin of all sinners because of His righteousness. All sinners must turn from their sin and turn to God. All sinners must believe in Christ to receive justification. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and approval with God. The result of justification is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness onto the believer. Not only is the believer’s sin removed, but the believer receives a new identity in Christ including the righteousness of Christ Himself.

C. We believe that Sanctification is the way a believer is set apart for God’s purposes. Sanctification begins with new birth. The believer grows toward moral and spiritual maturity. The believer grows because of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit living in him. Growth should continue throughout the believer’s life. A believer will be sanctified if he is truly justified. Scripture teaches the unification of all the steps of salvation as a process that once begun will be brought to fruition and completion

D. Glorification is the result of salvation. Glorification is the last blessed condition of the believer. This condition never ends for the believer as he worships God forever in heaven. A believer will be glorified if he is truly justified and in the process of sanctification. Glorification is the destiny of the believer and it includes adulthood and matureness in Christ.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68- 69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1- 18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17- 20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5, Philippians 1.6, James 1:4

V. God’s Purpose of Grace

We believe that becoming one of God’s children is the caring work of God. We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of people, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.

He accepts us just as we are, meaning that there is nothing in and of ourselves that allows us the ability to save ourselves. He sets us apart for His work and wants us to be with Him and to worship Him forever. All true believers continue forever. Believers that God has accepted in Christ and set apart for His work by His Spirit will never lose their salvation. They shall continue forever. Believers may sin because of neglect and temptation. Believers grieve the Spirit because they sin. Believers damage their graces and comforts because of sin. Believers bring criticism on the cause of Christ because of sin. Believers bring worldly judgments on themselves because of sin. Even though they may sin, true believers will still be saved by the power of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

VI. The Church

We believe in the New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ as an independent local congregation of baptized believers. These believers are joined by shared agreement. These believers share in the same faith and fellowship of the gospel. This group is in Christ. These believers have Christ in common. This group of baptized believers observes the two ordinances of Christ – Believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are guided by His laws. They use the gifts, rights, and privileges given to them by His Word. They are trying to present the gospel to all people on the earth in accordance with the Great Commission. Each congregation works under the Lordship of Christ by self-governing methods.

We believe that in this kind of congregation, each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. The church’s scriptural officers are elders and deacons. Both men and women are given gifts by the Holy Spirit for service in the church. The office of elder is limited to men that meet the qualifications found in Scripture. The New Testament describes the church as the Body of Christ. This church includes all of the believers from throughout history. These believers come from every people group. They come from every language group. They come from all people from every country. There is one church, including those only who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the redemption of their souls.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22- 23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

VII. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience to the Word of God and that Baptism is the picture of the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior. Baptism is a picture of the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in a new life in Christ Jesus. Baptism also shows the believer’s faith in the final resurrection of the dead.

The Lord’s Supper is a picture of obedience to the Word of God. Church members eat the bread and drink the fruit of the vine. They remember the death of the Redeemer. They look forward to His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

VIII. The Kingdom

We believe that the Kingdom of God includes His general rule over the universe. The Kingdom of God also includes His rule over humans. These people of their own free will accept Him as King and the Kingdom is the area of salvation. People receive this salvation by having trust like a child and making a commitment like a child to Jesus Christ. Christians should pray and work so that the Kingdom of God may come. Christians should pray and work so that God’s will may be done on earth. The Kingdom of God will be complete when Jesus Christ returns to earth again at the end of this time.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.

IX. Last Things

We believe that God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its right end. In keeping with His promise, Jesus Christ will return to earth in person. He will be seen in all His greatness by all people on the earth. The dead in Christ will be raised first. Christ will judge all people with honesty. The unworthy will be sent to Hell, the place of never-ending punishment. The worthy, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward. They will live forever in Heaven with the Lord.

We believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church and the literal Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on David’s Throne in Jerusalem from which He will rule the whole world.  We believe in the future consummation of all things and the coming New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem as indicated in Scripture.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

X. Israel and the Church

We believe that God made promises to Israel that have not yet been fulfilled, but will be fulfilled literally to Israel in future days. The promises of Genesis 12:3 are an eternal promise and we believe God will bless those who bless Israel. We believe the church is distinct from Israel and that the church has not replaced Israel in God’s redemptive plan for the world.  We believe that it is the responsibility of the church to take the gospel “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”

Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-5, 18-21; 17:1-22; 26:3-5; 28:13-15; Romans 1:16-17; 9-11; Romans 11:26

XI. Evangelism and Missions

We believe that it is the job and honor of every follower of Christ and of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to try to make disciples of the people from all nations. The new birth of a person’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Winning the lost world to faith in Jesus Christ depends on all believers. Making disciples is a Christian duty for the person who has already accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Making disciples is clearly commanded many times in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to try always to win the lost to Christ by a spoken witness. The child of God should also present a Christian way of life. The methods used to witness should be in agreement with the gospel of Christ. The methods utilized should be a response to the already completed work of Jesus and the obedience of believers to the Great Commission and is not based on our work but rather on the sovereignty and grace of God Who brings one to salvation through election. The child of God witnesses and evangelizes not out of obligation, but out of a heart of worship for what has been completed for him or her in Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

XII. Education

We believe that Christianity is the faith of explanation and intelligence. In Jesus Christ are all the riches of understanding and learning. All good learning is a part of our Christian history. The new birth opens all human abilities. The new birth creates a desire for learning. The reason for education in the Kingdom of Christ is brought together with missions and general kindness to others. These should receive the generous support of the church. A system of Christian education is necessary for a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people.

In Christian education, there should be a good balance between educational freedom and educational responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always incomplete and never final. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is controlled by the authority of Jesus Christ. The teacher is controlled by the power of the Scriptures. The teacher is controlled by the obvious purpose for which the school was started and continues. Christian education must be centered on the practice of orthodoxy and equally orthopraxy.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.

XIII. Stewardship

We believe that God is the giver of all earthly and heavenly blessings. God is the giver of all that we have and all that we are and that Christians have a spiritual responsibility to the whole world. Christians have a responsibility to share the gospel, as well as have a duty to be good managers of their possessions. We have the responsibility to serve Him with time, talents, and material possessions. Christians should know that all of these are given to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. The Scriptures say that Christians should give a percentage of their income cheerfully, regularly, carefully, and generously. Christians should give for the progress of the Redeemer’s plan on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19- 21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

XIV. The Christian and the Social Order

We believe that all Christians have a responsibility to try to make the will of Christ first in our own lives and in the world. The ways and methods used to improve society and to create righteousness among people can be very helpful. These changes are helpful only if they come because of the rebirth of the person by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. Just like Christ, Christians should be against racial discrimination, every form of greed, self-interest, and evil, and all forms of sexual wrongdoing, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for orphans, the poor, the abused, the old, the weak, and the sick. We should speak for the unborn. We should insist on the holiness of all human life from its creation to natural death. Every Christian should try to bring business, government, and all people under the influence of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. To do this Christians should be ready to work with all people of good will in any good cause. Christians should always be careful to act in love without giving up their loyalty to Christ and His truth. Christians must be equally aware of their own sin within their social order and practice confession and restoration among the body of Christ. Christians must realize that internal self-sins of the heart are to be combatted with the Fruit of the Spirit, not covered up with external practices.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

XV. Religious Liberty

We believe that God alone is Lord of what is right and wrong. Humanity’s sense of what is right and wrong is free from the rules and commandments of people. These rules and commandments may be different from His Word. They may not be found in His Word. Church and state should be separate. The state owes protection to every church. The state owes complete freedom to every church in seeking spiritual matters. In giving this freedom, no religious group or denomination should be given any special treatment by the state. The national government was planned by God. It is the duty of Christians to give faithful obedience in all things that are not against the known will of God. The church should not expect the national government to do its work. The gospel of Christ considers only spiritual methods to reach its purposes. The state has no right to require punishment for religious beliefs of any kind. The state has no right to require taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal. This suggests the right of free communication with God by all people. This also suggests the right to start and spread religious opinions without trouble from the government.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

XVI. The Family

We believe that God has planned the family as the first institution in Creation. It is made up of persons joined to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage and the family is a direct example of the Trinitarian relationship of God Himself. God is a plurality on oneness – One God with a plurality of Persons. He is Relationship. God chooses to create humankind (Oneness) made up of plural parts (male and female). This aspect of the creation of people is one of the many essentials of what it means for humans to be made in the image and likeness of God himself – the Trinity. God makes the male part first and then takes the side of the man and creates a plurality of oneness in the forming of the female. He molds the man and then builds the woman. God then brings the woman back to the man and they are joined together by spirit and flesh in the first marriage.

Marriage is the joining of God’s creation of mankind including only one man and one woman with the promise of being faithful to one another for a lifetime. Marriage is the first institution ordained by God and was established pre-fall (or before sin) and pre–government (or before the institution of government). God created marriage based on His essence of Person and defined it for humans before law or sin. Marriage is God’s special gift that is a direct reflection and example of the Triune relationship observed first in the relationship between God and His Persons. Later, marriage shows the union between Christ and His church. Marriage gives the man and the woman a way for intimate friendship. Marriage is the way of sexual expression according to the main beliefs in the Bible. Marriage is the way for increasing the human race.

The husband and wife are of the same worth before God. Both are created in God’s image and likeness. The marriage relationship shows the way God relates to Himself and to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given duty to provide for, to protect, and to guide his family. A wife is to submit herself with kindness to the servant leadership of her husband. A wife submits just as the church willingly submits to the leadership of Christ. She is made in the likeness of God. Her husband is also made in the likeness of God. This makes the wife and husband equals. She has the God-given duty to respect her husband. She is to serve as his helper in running the household and supporting the next generation.

Children, from the moment of creation, are a blessing and inheritance from the Lord. Children are the third example of the Trinitarian relationship in the hierarchy of God. The Son submits to the Father and the Spirit of God submits to the Son and the Father. The Father does not submit to the Son, but sends the Son. The Son and the Father send the Spirit. In the family the child submits to both the father and the mother. All parts of the family are equal, yet with different roles. This is an example of the Trinity. Parents are to show to their children God’s example for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and right values. Parents are to guide their children to make choices based on truths in the Bible. Parents are to guide their children by living a life faithful to God. Parents are to guide their children with loving discipline. Children are to respect and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7, John 3;17, Luke 20:13, John 3:16, John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, Phil. 2:8, Mark 1:35-39, Luke 6;12-13, Luke 4;21, John 17:12, 19:24,28; John 6:38, 12:50, John 16:13-14.

*Developed and Edited by Matthew A. Vander Wiele, Ed.D.