IV. The Church

We believe the Church, which is the body of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons (Eph 1:22,23; 5:25-27; 1 Cor 12:12-14; 2 Cor 11:2).

We believe the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures and consists of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work, and fellowship (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).

We believe the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 1:22; Col 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers; Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-5).

We believe these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Tim 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Heb 13:7,17).

We believe in the ordinances of believer’s water baptism and the Lord’s supper as scriptural means of testimony for the church age (Matt 28:19,20; Acts 2:41,42; 18:8; 1 Cor 11:23-26).

We believe God distributes Spirit-empowered gifts to the church for the purpose of building the church up.

We believe these gifts are diverse, distributed according to God’s own will and wisdom, given to all believers in some measure, and are for the purpose of edifying the universal and local church. Some of these gifts are miraculous in nature for divine revelation and healing. The primary purpose of the miraculous gifts were to validate the apostolic witness and authority as the new covenant revelation was being given. Scripture does not restrict the presence of these gifts in the present age. However, in the case of legitimate manifestations of miraculous gifts, any and all Scriptural guidelines pertinent to their use are to be strictly observed (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 7:7-9; 12:1-31; 13:8-10; 14:1-40; 2 Cor 12:12; Eph 4:7-13; Heb 2:1-4; 1 Pet 4:10,11).

We believe in the importance of discipleship (Matt 28:19-20; 2 Tim 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matt 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matt 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor 5:1-13; 2 Thess 3:6-15; 1 Tim 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).

We believe the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Eph 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Eph 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Tim 2:2,15; 3:16-17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matt 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).

We believe it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind (Matt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8, 2 Cor 5:19,20).