Our articles of faith and doctrine

We Believe

1. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD, THE CREATOR OF ALL, HAS MADE HIMSELF KNOWN—his will and nature—by his mighty, personal acts of salvation and providence in the history of Israel and through Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of God’s self-revelation. In disclosing himself to us, God has made clear his nature to which Creation itself testifies and has revealed to us our true human nature, our deepest need, and the final destiny of Creation. The written account and exposition of God’s historical revelation is the Holy Bible that is the sacred scripture of the Christian Church, written by authors divinely inspired and guided by the same self-revealing God. Thus, Scripture is to be received and believed as the unerring, infallible, and foundational authority for the faith and living of the Church. [God’s Revelation & Scripture]

2. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD IS THE HOLY TRINITY—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—definitively made known to us in Jesus of Nazareth by his teachings, personal claims, and miraculous acts. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct as divine persons but are in their Triune relations the only and one divine reality. The Trinity is the Self-revealing God – One in essence, power, will, and love. Each Person is fully divine and worthy of our worship; and each is involved in the works of Creation, Providence, and Redemption, although in different ways. The orthodox creeds of the ancient Church, especially the first seven fully ecumenical councils of the undivided Christian Church, are our doctrinal guides for contemplating God’s essence as Trinity, as well as Christ’s own nature, our human relationship to God, and our divinely established destiny. [Trinity & Consensual Theology]

3. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD BECAME INCARNATE, ESTABLISHING HIS REIGN TO SAVE FALLEN CREATION through uniting our humanity to his divine life in the Second Person of the Trinity as the historic man and Son of God Jesus of Nazareth. Conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary—fully God and fully human—he is the world’s only Redeemer. Uniting the divine presence to our human nature, he restores our true humanity in the Image of God. Laying down his sinless human life and freely choosing to give himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world by his death on the Cross, he alone is the sufficient and full atonement for the sins of all humanity. Perfectly obeying God as a human person, he has destroyed the dominion of Sin in our lives. Rising bodily from the grave, he overcame death and alienation as our glorified Lord and is the source of Eternal Life and the New Creation. Ascending into heaven as the exalted God-Man and enthroned at God’s right hand as our Intercessor, he makes possible our adoption as children of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit in those who believe in him. [Christology & Atonement]

5. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD IS AT WORK IN ALL PERSONS through the Holy Spirit as the prevenient, restoring, immanent, and transforming divine presence. Because of Jesus Christ’s atoning life as a universal healing and reconciling gift to all of the human race, the Holy Spirit establishes in all persons a grace-enabled ability to feel their need of God and to respond to the Gospel of Christ. Thus, the Spirit’s work creates a responsibility in all person for their rejection of Christ, as well as drawing those who yield to this prevenient grace to exercise saving faith, and restoring the image of God by the New Birth granted to believers, and then providing the assurance of salvation, and creating holy living embodied in “the Fruit of the Spirit.” [Holy Spirit, Prevenient Grace, & Salvation]

6. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD CREATED HUMANITY UNIQUELY IN THE DIVINE IMAGE by a special act of creation to be loved by Him, to know Him, and to reflect his holiness. Although created to know, enjoy, and reflect the holy love and glory of the Trinity, we became deeply fallen and alienated from God Himself and God’s image in our own nature, by our unwillingness to trust God’s goodness and our willful disobedience against God’s purposes. Such a turn from God cannot be forgiven or healed by our own efforts, so apart from God’s redeeming grace we are calamitously enslaved to our own sinfulness and hopelessly alienated from God’s saving presence. Nonetheless, because of the grace of being created in God’s image, all human beings continue to be subjects of God’s saving love, so that salvation is freely offered to and a possibility for all human persons. [Human nature & fall]

7. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD GRANTS BY GRACE LIBERTY OF THE HUMAN WILL IN SALVATION so that we may persevere in faith by a grace-enabled free response to God’s love through personal trust and obedience. Since saving faith is always a “present tense” relationship enabled but not coerced by the Holy Spirit, forfeiting this saving grace and sustaining power is always tragically possible. Yet God desires us to be saved more than we desire it, so we affirm that such loss occurs by intentional and continuing resistance to the Holy Spirit’s drawings; and even those who fall from grace may be restored if they return to the Lord in true repentance and faith. [Liberty of Will & Perseverance]

8. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD RESTORES US TO TRUE HOLINESS OF HEART AND LIFE, first by the New Birth as the Holy Spirit renews us in the divine image, thereby enabling us to live by faith and grow in grace, creating in us a hunger for more of God, and leading those who will yield to desire and experience a deeper and subsequent encounter with God’s transforming holy love. In this gift, the believer is empowered to be devoted completely to God, as the Holy Spirit purifies the heart and desires and grants a power to have victory over habitual and voluntary sin, so that we grow more deeply and consistently in Christ-like character, and become more fruitful and effective in our service to God. [Regeneration & Entire Sanctification]

9. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD HAS ESTABLISHED FOR HIMSELF A PEOPLE IN THE WORLD called the church, which is created by the Holy Spirit’s presence in and among believers and is visibly present among all traditions and denominations wherever the Apostolic faith is faithfully proclaimed, holiness of heart and life is pursued, the Sacraments/Ordinances of Christ are rightly celebrated, and spiritual gifts for empowerment of the Church in mission to the world are manifest. Proclamation of the Gospel to make disciples of all nations, manifestation of God’s Kingdom by acts of compassion and justice-seeking, and demonstration of the majesty of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world by loving one another with pure and fervent hearts are the practices to which the People of God are called. [Church & God’s Mission]

10. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD WILL JUDGE THE WORLD IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, desiring that all receive his grace and Eternal Life, nevertheless He saves us only through our freely receiving his grace and freely exercising saving faith in the Son of God that is sovereignly enabled as a possibility for all. Everlasting blessedness and joy await all who die in Christ and unending sorrow and emptiness, resulting from sinful alienation from God, is the destiny of those who will not receive Christ and live in Him. [Final Judgment & Redemption]

11. THE SELF-REVEALING GOD WILL COMPLETE REDEMPTION BY THE RETURN OF THE INCARNATE LORD, who will renew and transform all of Creation, bring the Kingdom/Reign of God in all its fullness, gather the Church to himself, destroy all evil, judge the sins of all persons, and rule perfectly over God’s New Creation in holy love and complete righteousness by his intimate union with his people in the New Jerusalem. [Eschatology & Full Salvation]