A. The Holy Scriptures: I believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, written by men under God’s control, without error and infallible in the original manuscripts, and the final authority in faith and life. I believe the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are God’s complete and sufficient revelation and therefore carry God’s authority for the total well-being of mankind (1 Tim. 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21; Psalm 19:7-9; 119:1-9,11,97-104,160; Matt. 5:18; John 5:46-47; 10:35).
B. The Trinity (The Godhead): I believe in one true God who has chosen to reveal Himself in three, yet equal, persons. This Trinity of one Godhead consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and are worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence, and obedience (Mark 12:29; John 1:1-4; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 4:3-4).
1. God (The Father): I believe that God is the One who created all things (Rev. 4:11) and upholds all things by the Word of His power (Heb. 1:3). In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He is the One and only God of truth and without iniquity. He is just and right (Deut 32:4), and He shall judge the world (Psalm 9:8).
2. Jesus Christ (the Son): I believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe He is the manifestation of God in the flesh (the Word made flesh). I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God (having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin) in order that He might reveal God to and accomplish the redemption of sinful man. He accomplished man’s redemption by voluntarily giving Himself as a sinless, substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, thereby satisfying God’s righteous judgments against sin. His bodily resurrection from the grave confirmed our redemption. He then ascended to the right hand of His Father where He intercedes on behalf of those who trust Him (John 1:1-2,14,18; Luke 1:34-35; 24:12; Rom. 3:34-36; 8:34; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:12-19).
3. The Holy Spirit: I believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. As He brings glory to the Son, He works to convict all men of their sin and their need of salvation; salvation that can only be found in Christ. The Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner upon faith in Christ, baptizing the believer in one body of which Christ is the head. The Holy Spirit indwells, guides, instructs, fills, comforts, and empowers the believer for godly living (Mark 13:11; John 14:26; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 3:16). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of God’s righteousness, and of coming judgment (John 16:8-11). I believe that the Holy Spirit gives to each believer spiritual gifts to be used in the edification, instruction, and ministry of the local church.
C. The Condition of Man: I believe that the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created in the image and likeness of God in innocence and without sin. I believe that there came a time when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s law and fell from the sinless and righteous relationship they had with the Father. Because of Adam’s rebellion and fall, all humanity inherited a sinful nature. Therefore, all mankind is born in sin causing them to be spiritually dead and alienated from God. In addition, not only are all people sinners by inheritance, but also by their own choice and therefore are under just condemnation of their sin. Due to man’s sinful and fallen nature, every man and every woman stand before God in need of the salvation that is only found in Christ. (Gen. 1:26; 2:1-24; Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3).
D. Salvation: I believe that salvation from the penalty of sin (justification), the power of sin (sanctification), and ultimately the presence of sin (glorification) is the gift of God’s grace. It cannot be gained by meritorious works but is freely bestowed on all who put their faith in the finished work of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection. Each person who places faith in Christ and receives the Father’s gracious gift of salvation is born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby assured of a right standing before God as His child. (Eph. 2:8-9; 1:7; John 1:12; 1 John 5:11-13; Heb. 12:3-13; James 2:14-26; Rom. 8:37-39: 10:9-11,13).
E. Process of Sanctification and Maturity: A mature disciple is committed to a relationship with Christ focusing on his/her personal walk with Him, worship of Him, and work in Him. A mature disciple will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become “complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). For this reason, I am committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of mature discipleship into the lives of others (2 Tim. 2:2).
This multiplication of maturity is the key to the healthy growth of the church. Mature disciples of Jesus Christ will minister to one another in the local church. This ministry of maturity allows the church to better fulfill God’s desire for the body, for it does not relegate the ministry of the church to one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. The more the church ministers to each other the more the Lord is honored and the more the world is allowed to see the truth of God’s love among His people.
God has given spiritual gifts to all His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Peter 4:8-10). GEM seeks to encourage and equip each believer to use his/her talents and spiritual gifting in ministry to the church in a mature and godly manner.
F. The Church: Upon receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, a believer becomes a part of the body, which is the church. There is one church universal, composed of all those throughout the world who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scriptures command believers to gather in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances (baptism and communion), fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world in fulfillment of the command of Christ to make disciples. Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there abides the local expression of the church under the oversight of pastors, elders, and other supportive leadership. Those who compose the body of local believers are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:16; 5:23; Rom. 12:1: Acts 2:42-46; 1 Cor. 14:26; 12:13; Matt. 28:18-20).