Full Statement of Faith

The Scriptures  
The Holy Scriptures was written by men divinely inspired by God and is His revelation of Himself to man. We believe that Scripture is Inerrant in the original texts, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony of Christ. 
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all-powerful and all-knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.  
A) God the Father  
God as Father reigns with intentional care over His universe, His creatures, and human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, and all-wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  
B) God the Son  
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, He took upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities yet without sin. He fulfilled the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He atoned for man’s sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of the Father. He is fully God and fully man, and thus the one mediator between God and men. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to complete His redemptive mission. He now dwells in and with all believers as the living and ever present Lord.  
C) God the Holy Spirit  
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and ensures regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into relationship with Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.  
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin until by his choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Therefore, men become transgressors and are under God’s righteous condemnation. Because mankind is an enemy of God and incapable of righteousness in the eyes of God, and therefore only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personhood is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.  
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, perseverance of the saints, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. This is through election - the gracious purpose of God. Election is taught in the Scriptures. It is God’s eternal choice to those whom He predestined unto everlasting life, not based on anything they have done, but based entirely on His mercy and grace to choose them. Although God sovereignty elects some to salvation, we are still responsible, as God draws us to Himself, to repent of our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable.  
A) Regeneration: or the new birth, is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. Conversion is our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of sins and place our trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ. Saving Faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God.  
B) Justification: is an instantaneous legal act of God in which He 1) recognizes of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and 2) declares us to be righteous in His sight. 
C) Sanctification: is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.    
D) Perseverance of the Saints: means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again. 
E) Glorification: is the final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, and reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like His own.  
The Church  
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local congregation of believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. Observing all the teachings of Christ and those found in His Word, which contain His laws, the spiritual gifts, rights of believers, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeing to extend the gospel to then ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ in light of the Scriptures. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.   
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper  
Believers baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his or her faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership.   
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, and spiritually receive the blessings of the death of the Redeemer, and the anticipation of His second coming.  
Last Things  
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will imminently return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men. We believe the most straightforward interpretation is that of the pre-millennial viewpoint. Thus we believe there is a 7-year tribulation, followed by the 2nd Coming of Christ, and then followed by the 1,000-year Reign of Christ. At the end of this, the unrighteous will be consigned to the Lake of Fire – the place of everlasting punishment. Those declared righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.  
Evangelism and Missions  
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness supported by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.  
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual obligation to the whole world, and a holy trusteeship in the gospel. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the New Testament teachings, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, and liberally. The blessings of God are not solely for our own individual enjoyment but for the advancement of the Kingdom. Nothing is ours but on loan from God for a period.  
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.  
Peace and War  
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war. The only conditions for war is found in the Biblical Principles for a Just War. An individual Christian may believe that the standard of evidence that national leaders may require to go to war. But it is certainly permissible for a Believer to fight for their country in armed service. This view says that the aim of Christianity is to promote a world in which peace and justice flourish everywhere: war may sometimes be the tool needed to do this, and waging war may sometimes be a lesser evil (a lesser injustice) than allowing injustice to persist or tolerating the victimization of innocent people. The true remedy for war is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace. 
The Christian and the Social Order  
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.  
The Family  
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.  
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.  
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.  
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.  
Human Sexuality  
God’s plan for sexual expression is between one man and one woman for life in the context of marriage. Consequently, any form of sexual participation outside of marriage is a deviation from God’s plan and purpose and a perversion of God’s design. Examples of perversion of God’s plan for human sexuality include, but are not limited to, adultery, fornication, polygamy, homosexuality, and pornography. As a result, no ceremonies, events, or observances that glorify, celebrate, or encourage sexual expression outside the bounds of this statement and the Word of God will be held at Essential Church facilities or with any church resources. In addition, no representatives of the church (including paid ministers and staff, volunteer ministers and staff, or lay leaders) will be allowed to officiate or provide any form of leadership for any ceremonies, events, or observances that glorify, celebrate, or encourage sexual expression outside the bounds of this statement and the Word of God. To do so would be grounds for disciplinary action on the part of the church (according to Matthew 18:15-17.) Essential Church teaches that all people are to be loved with the love of Christ regardless of their backgrounds or lifestyle choices; however, Essential Church also believes that each believer, like Christ, must speak the “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Consequently, acceptance of a person is not equivalent to approval of lifestyle choices. Saying that, we welcome anyone who wishes to learn what God’s Word says. We ask you to be respectful of our beliefs. We are willing to help anyone who is struggling with sin to experience the freedom and forgiveness of Christ.

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