THE CHURCH IS HIS TESTIMONY
We believe that the New Testament Church is comprised of all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The Church of Jesus is made up of autonomous local congregations of baptized followers of Jesus. As a church, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel, they meet together regularly, observe communion in remembrance, baptize new believers, submit to the governing of God’s Word, exercise the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit, and seek to extend the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
These are the two ordinances of the local church. These are to be carried out under the authority of a local church in an organized manner.
We believe that all Christians are baptized by the Holy Spirit when they are born again. We believe that water baptism by immersion is the one-time, Biblical testimony of the professed believer in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It should be the first act of following Christ and is essential in the life of the believer as an act of worship and obedience to the commands of Jesus. In baptism, we both follow Jesus’ example and obey His command. There is no saving power or cleansing ability in the act of baptism. Baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sins, received forgiveness of sins, died with Christ to sin, and been raised to newness of life. Baptism is for those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and commit themselves to follow Christ in obedience as members of the local church. Baptism is for those who understand its meaning, are able to be accountable to Christ and the church, and voluntarily request it on the basis of their faith response to Jesus Christ (this is called credo baptism not to be confused with paedo, or infant, baptism).
We believe that Communion or the Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s death on the cross to be administered by the church to its congregation in a worthy manner. We believe that those who partake of the Lord’s Supper should be baptized, born-again believers, walking in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, after examining themselves. (Acts 2:42-46; 8:36-39; Matt. 3:6; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Cor. 11:23-29; Col. 2:12)
We believe in the current empowerment of the Holy Spirit among believers to include the gifts of the Spirit as outlined in Scripture, knowing that God works for His glory and His ways are higher than ours. The church functions as Christ’s body when each member recognizes, encourages, and appreciates the gifts of others while faithfully using their own for the glory of God and the benefit of others. At the same time, we closely follow the teaching of the Apostle Paul regarding the requirement for God-honoring order, and authentic application of the gifts in a corporate church gathering for the edification of all believers (see 1 Corinthians 14). We heed the Apostle Paul’s warning, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”