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We believe in one God who makes Himself known in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God the Father is the God of the Bible who created all that exists, created man for his His pleasure and fellowship, and who is holy, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and loving. Out of the Father was begotten the Son, Jesus Christ.
The Son, Jesus Christ, is eternally existent. He came to earth as a baby born to Mary of Nazareth through a miraculous conception. He lived a sinless life, died a vicarious death on the cross to take the penalty of man's sin, and arose bodily from the grave on the third day after His crucifixion. He ascended to the Father after showing Himself to many witnesses and giving instructions to his disciples. He lives and reigns with the Father in heaven. He will return to the earth bodily to receive his own and take them with Him to their eternal home. He will judge his disciples according to their works and give them their eternal rewards.
The Holy Spirit is also known as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Jesus. He is God who regenerates, indwells, and sanctifies the Christians and convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He gives and empowers spiritual gifts and produces spiritual fruit in Christians. He inspired the authors of Holy Scripture. He guides, comforts, strengthens, and encourages Christians.
The Bible is also known as Holy Scripture. It was inspired by God and written by men. It is composed of two parts- the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is made up of 39 books and was the Bible Jesus knew and used in his earthly ministry. The 27 books of the New Testament were selected over a period of time by the early church because their message and teachings are consistent with the preaching and teaching of the apostles of Jesus. Many other writings were not accepted into the New Testament because of their doubtful message, suspicious authorship, or their lack of value and use by the early churches.
The Bible contains truth without any mixture of error. It is true in all matters it addresses. It is authoritative for all matters of faith and contains the way of salvation, instructions for the life of the church, answers for every spiritual need, and the message of God's love for mankind. No other book is considered Holy Scripture by the church of Jesus Christ.
Man was created as a special act of God as recorded in the Book of Genesis. All men have derived from Adam and Eve, the first two people in the world. Man is the highest created being on earth and the only being capable of a personal relationship with God. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, all people have a sin nature and are therefore sinners. Man is separated from a personal relationship with God and is condemned to an eternity of punishment separated from God because of his sin.
Salvation is an act of God's grace whereby God forgives a person's sin and places the Holy Spirit in his heart. Man may receive salvation and thereby enter into a relationship with God because of the work of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. This salvation is eternal and is received through faith alone in Jesus alone.
Salvation occurs in three stages:
1) Justification -This is the initial work of salvation. It means a person is declared just, not guilty of sins before God. The justified person is instantly assured of his place in heaven. Justification occurs when a person receives Jesus.
2) Sanctification- This is the ongoing work of salvation which creates godliness in the life of a Christian. Sanctification begins at the moment of justification and continues throughout the earthly life of a Christian. The goal of sanctification is to create in the Christian the character of Jesus Christ.
3) Glorification- This is the final work of salvation which takes place when a Christian reaches eternity. God completes our glorification so we will be fit to live in heaven with him and all the saints and angels. To be glorified means we are complete, perfected into what God originally made us to be.
The Church is both local and universal. On earth (local) the church is a group of Christians united for worship, fellowship, ministry, edification, and evangelism. A local church meets regularly, usually at least weekly, to accomplish these purposes. The universal church is made up of all Christians of all time. This is often called the Holy Catholic Church in literature. In scripture, the church is also known as the "body of Christ" and the "Bride of Christ". Churches may sometimes form denominations, associations, and conventions to accomplish their work together. Leadership and decision making in the local church is varied. In the New Testament there are two distinct offices of leadership- Pastor (interchangeable term with Elder and Bishop) and Deacon. Others may be lay leaders in the church including staff members who function according to the needs of the church.
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