Doctrinal Statement

Things we Believe

I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's           revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine           instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and           truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore,           all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles           by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the           end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme           standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions           should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is           Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10;            119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32;            Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15;            17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17;            Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

II. God

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, including           the future decisions of His free creatures. 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 providential care over His universe,           His creatures, and the flow of the stream of 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. He is fatherly in           His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus           22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah           43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9;            28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7;            Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6;            Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17;            1 John 5:7.

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, taking upon Himself           human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself           completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law           by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the           cross He made provision for the redemption of men from 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 God where He           is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected           the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power           and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission.           He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.           

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:1-12; Matthew           1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19;            Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38;            11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28;            Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21;            8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians           5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians           2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy           2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28;            12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9;            2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

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 Saviour,           and effects 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 the fullness of           the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and           the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.;            Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32;            28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49;            John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31;            5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans           8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians           4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy           3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1           John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

III. Man

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. The gift           of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the           beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator           with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God           and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan           man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original           innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment           inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral           action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. 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           personality 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.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5;           51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans           1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians           1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered           freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by           His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its           broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification,           and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith           in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby           believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of           heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which           the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord           Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of           grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the           acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality           to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles           of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.           Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and           favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration,           by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled           to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence           and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should           continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final           blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26;            27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24;            10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31;            20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39;            10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians           5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22;            4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians           5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28;            11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation           3:20; 21:1-22:5.

V. God's Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He           regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is           consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the           means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of           God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable.           It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted           in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from           the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may           fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve           the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach           on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet           they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.           

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah           5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31;            25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14;            3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32;            Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2;            15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14;            2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2;            James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous           local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant           in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances           of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and           privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the           gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under           the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. 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.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ           which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from           every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6;            13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians           1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22;            3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy           2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation           2-3; 21:2-3.

VII. Baptism and the Lord's           Supper

Christian 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 Saviour, 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 faith in the final resurrection           of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the           privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

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, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second           coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26;            Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33;            20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians           2:12.

VIII. The Lord's Day

The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian           institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection           of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship           and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the           Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience           under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7;            Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10;            I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the           universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge           Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation           into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus           Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may           come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the           Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23;            12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43;            8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7;            17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians           1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation           1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.

X. 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           return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will           be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous           will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.           The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive           their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44;            25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37;            21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians           4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians           1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.;            2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28;            James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation           1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

XI. 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 undergirded by a Christian           lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38;            10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke           10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts           1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11;            1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1           Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

XII. Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In           Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All           sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage.           The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for           knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ           is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence,           and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches.           An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete           spiritual program for Christ's people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between           academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly           relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute.           The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary           is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative           nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which           the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job           28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11;            15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40;            1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians           2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3;            James 1:5; 3:17.

XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all           that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual           debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel,           and a binding stewardship in their possessions. 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 Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully,           regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the           advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi           3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42;            16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2;            1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15;            Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

XIV. Cooperation

Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations           and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects           of 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. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual           harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups           of Christ's people. 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.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15;           Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20;            Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35;            1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians           1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.

XV. 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.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm           101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40;            25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25;            John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7;            7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians           3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

XVI. 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 true remedy for the war spirit 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.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans           12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from           the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His           Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate.           The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the           pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no           ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state           more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is           the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all           things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should           not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of           Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its           ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions           of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support           of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian           ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access           to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate           opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil           power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36;            Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians           3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

XVIII. 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. She,           being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him,           has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve           as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

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.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy           6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127;            128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1;            17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes           4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark           10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33;            6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus           2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.