We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately
placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the church
(1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians
5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22;
4:15; Colossians 1:18).
We teach that the formation of the church, the Body of Christ, began
on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at
the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52;
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed
by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Ephesians
2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel(1 Corinthians 10:32), a
mystery not revealed until this age (Ephesians 3:1-6; 5:32).
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly
taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17,
28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians
1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual Body are directed to associate
themselves together in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews
We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (1 Corinthians
11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 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; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of
whom must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9;
1 Peter 5:1-5).
We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Timothy
5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation
is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17), while holding them
accountable to Scriptural standards of doctrine and purity (Galatians
We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy
2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matthew 18:5-14),
as well as the need for discipline of sinning members of the congregation
in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11;
1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus
We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority
or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference
of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach
that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other
for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Each local church,
however, through its elders and their interpretation and application
of Scripture, should be the sole judge of the measure and method of its
cooperation. The elders should lead the body in determining all
other matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government
as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Under God, the final judicial authority responsible for discipline
and doctrine resides with the congregation as a whole (Acts 6:3,5; Galatians
1:8; 2 Corinthians 2:6; 2 Timothy 4:3).
We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Ephesians
3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians 4:13-16), by instruction
of the Word (2 Timothy 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 (Matthew 28:19;
Acts 1:8; 2:42).
We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Corinthians
15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).
We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes
His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual
gifts. He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for
the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and He also gives unique
and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ
(Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous
gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the
apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message
(Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and ministering gifts, given
to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation
now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of
a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are
no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive
even believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). The
only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts
given for edification (Romans 12:6-8).
We 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 (Luke
18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).
We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church:
baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism
by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of
a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen
Saviour, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a
new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification
with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42).
We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation
of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn
self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also teach that, whereas
the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh
and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless
an actual communion with the risen Christ, who indwells every believer,
and so is present, fellowshipping with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).