Beliefs


I believe the following:

The Holy Trinity
There is but one, living, and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, perfection, wisdom and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead are three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Word, the Son of God
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not just for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.

Descent to Hell
As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also it is to be believed that He descended to Hell.

The Resurrection
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again His body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature.

The Ascension
Christ ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, until He returns to judge all at the last day.

The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God. The Holy Spirit convicts man of sin, regenerates those who repent and trust in Christ, and guides the Church into all truth.

Sacred Scripture
Sacred Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not found therein, nor may be proved thereby, may not be required of anyone, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. The Sacred Scriptures are divinely inspired and inerrant in all they contain, have never been in doubt in the Church, and are contained in both the Old and New Testaments. The Apocrypha is profitable for historical perspective, scholarly research, and example of life, but may not be used to establish any doctrine.

The Old Testament
The Old Testament does not contradict the New; for both the Old and New Testament testify to the offer of eternal life in Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Therefore, those who claim the Patriarchs sought only transitory promises, are to be ignored. Although the Law was from God through Moses, those ceremonies and rites are not binding on Christians, nor should the civil be received by any government; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian is free from obedience to the moral commandments.

Creeds
The three historic creeds, the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian, are to be accepted and believed, since all they contain may be proved by Sacred Scripture.

Man
Man was created in the image of God; but as the result of Adam's sin all are alienated from God, and are by nature corrupt, hostile to God and His Law.

Inherited Depravity
Inherited Depravity is the corruption and fault of Man's nature that is naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby Man is very far removed from original righteousness, and is of his own nature, inclined to evil, so that the flesh always lusts for what is contrary to the spirit; and therefore, every person born into this world deserves God's wrath and damnation. Inherited Depravity remains in those who are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek "phronema sarkos", is in rebellion to the law of God. Yet there is no condemnation for those who believe and are baptized.

Free Will
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot return and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God through Christ, preventing us from sin, and working with and in us to have a good will toward God. The way by which the Lord works in us to have a good will toward God, is known as "prevenient grace".

Justification
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or that we deserve such: wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and full of comfort.

Good Works
Although good works, which are the natural fruits of faith, follow after justification, they cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet they are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and living faith, insomuch that by them a living faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Salvation
Our salvation is not of our own good works, nor within the power of Man to achieve, but is by grace, through faith, and not of works should any man boast. We are saved only by Jesus Christ, and in His holy name.

Works Before Justification
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are not pleasing to God, as they do not spring from faith in Jesus Christ, nor do men receive grace from these works, or deserve grace of congruity; rather, they are not done as God has willed and commanded, and they have the nature of sin.

Predestination and Election
Predestination to eternal Life is the purpose of God, whereby He has decreed that all who repent, and are baptized, and endure in Faith in Jesus Christ, are delivered from damnation, and by Christ are brought to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honor. Wherefore, so great a benefit is available to all who heed the call to God's purpose by the Holy Spirit: they, who through grace, obey that calling, are justified freely, made sons by adoption, walk in good works, and are saved. These are such as are called the "Elect" in the Word of God.

Works of Supererogation
Voluntary works- besides, over and above God's commandments-which are called works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogance and impiety. For by them men declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but they do more for His sake than they are bound by duty and required; whereas Christ says plainly, "When you have done all that is commanded you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants.'

Christ Alone Sinless
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like us in all things, the only exception being sin, from which He was clearly void, both in His flesh, and in His spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of Himself once made, should take away the sins of the world, and sin, as John says, was not in Him. But all other men, although baptized, and born again in Christ, offend in many ways; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Sin After Justification
Not every sin willingly committed after justification is sin against the Holy Spirit, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to those who fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Spirit, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God, rise again, and amend our lives. And therefore those who say they can no more sin as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to those who truly repent, are to be condemned.

Heaven and Hell
Those who die in Christ are present with Him immediately, while those who die in sin suffer the torments of hell, awaiting the final judgement. All shall be raised from the dead, those who died in Christ to eternal blessedness, and those who have rejected Him to conscious and everlasting punishment in hell.

The Church
The visible church is a congregation of faithful Christians, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. Christ is the supreme head of the Church and the only true Shepherd of Souls. The Church has the authority to decree rites and ceremonies, as well as authority to answer controversies in the faith: and  yet, it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's written Word, neither may it emphasize one part of Scripture, while ignoring another.

Church Councils
Those declarations of the 7 Church councils, known as the Ecumenical Councils, are embraced, insofar as they do not violate the written Word of God, and are to be accepted as being true, and binding on Christians.

Ministry
It is not lawful for any man to take upon himself the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments, before he is properly called, trained, ordained, and sent forth.

The Sacraments
The Sacraments instituted by Christ, being Baptism and the Lord's Supper, are not simply symbols of our Christian profession of faith, but rather are sure witnesses, and an effectual means of grace, as well as a sign of God's good will toward us, by which He works invisibly in us, and not only enlivens, but strengthens and confirms our faith in Him. The Sacraments of Christ were not provided to be gazed upon, or to be carried about in procession, but to be used as a means of grace daily. Only those who have a clean heart should receive them, since those who receive them unworthily do so to their own condemnation, as Paul writes.

Baptism
Baptism is not only an outward sign of our profession of faith, but it is also the sign of our Regeneration, or New Birth, whereby, those who are Baptized rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of our sins, our adoption as sons of God by the Holy Spirit, are visibly sealed, Faith is confirmed, and grace increased by virtue of prayer to God.

The Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper is not simply a sign of the love that Christians ought to have for one another, but rather is the Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's passion and death: insomuch as we receive it with a pure heart, and with faith, administered in the words of Christ's institution, the Bread is the Body of Christ, and the Wine is the Blood of Christ. Transubstantiation, which the Roman Church teaches, cannot be proved by Sacred Scripture, but is repugnant to it. The Body and Blood of Christ is present in the Sacrament, only in a heavenly and spiritual manner,  and is only received by faith. The Sacrament is not to be carried in procession, lifted up, or worshiped. The Faithful are to receive the Sacrament in both species: Bread and Wine.

The Finished Sacrifice
The sacrifice of Christ once made is our perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the world, both inherited and actual; and there is no other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Therefore, the Roman error of "the sacrifice of the Mass", by which the Roman Catholic priest is taught to offer Christ anew on the altar, is a blasphemous and spiritually dangerous deceit.

Married Clergy
Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, are not commanded by God's Law, either to be single, or celibate: therefore, it is lawful for them to marry a Christian woman at their discretion, or to remain celibate, in keeping with what they have discerned is God's good will for them.

Holy Matrimony
The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, a Sacrament founded in Sacred Scripture, is rightly limited to one man and one woman, married before the Church, witnessed by a Presbyter, and covenanted before God Almighty.

Excommunication
The Word of God teaches, and the Church practices, that when someone has been persistent in sin, disregarding the wise counsel of the godly to change his ways, and repent, that such a one may be excommunicated from the congregation of the Faithful, until he is received by penance, and restored to the Body of Christ by the appropriate minister.

Tradition and Rites
All received traditions and rites must be weighed against the full counsel of the written Word of God, and examined for conformity to the witness of the primitive Church, those doctors and fathers of the Church who have contributed to the knowledge of the Word of God. No tradition or rite may be received that is repugnant to the full counsel of the written Word of God.

Spiritual Authority
The Word of God, and the witness of the primitive Church, is that a man is appointed to ministry in the Church by the laying on of hands, and by prayer, of those in authority so to do. The historic witness of the Church is that such be ordained only by those who possess apostolic lineage. This tactile lineage is only profitable if the one ordained also faithfully teaches the historic Faith, and is consistent in all things with the written Word of God. Wherefore, the succession of the Apostles consists of both the faithful preaching of the Word of God, and the tactile lineage conferred by the laying on of hands and prayer.

Bishops
Bishops, as the successors to the ministry of the Apostles, form the greater ministerial authority of the Church, and have the responsibility to preach the full Word of God, administer the Sacraments, ordain ministers for the Church, and provide for the edification of both clergy and faithful. All Bishops must meet the guidelines set forth in Sacred Scripture.

Presbyters
Presbyters, as the helpers of the Bishops, form the lesser ministerial authority of the Church, and share in the responsibility to preach the full Word of God, administer the Sacraments, serve the needs of the Faithful, and seek their highest good in all things. All Presbyters must meet the guidelines set forth in Sacred Scripture.

Deacons and Deaconesses
Deacons/esses are the service ministry of the Church, assisting Presbyters in the administration of the affairs of the Church, and of the Sacraments, acting as Porters and Lectors, visiting the sick, assuring the help of the poor and of widows, handling needs of women in the congregation (the Deaconess), and may, in case of necessity, Baptize.

Civil Courts
Christians ought not to resort to civil courts in cases of disputations, but should avail themselves of the ministers of the Church to resolve such issues as may arise.

Consecrated Life
It is the tradition of the Church from primitive times, to provide for the recognition of those who, discerning the clear calling of God, remain celibate. These may be single or widows. This consecrated life is both righteous and profitable to those called, and the Church ought to recognize their holy estate in the consecrated life.

Christian Life
It is the joy and duty of Christians, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to live righteously and sacrificially, obedient to Christ's gospel, faithful in the use of the means of grace, and supporting the Church in its mission to teach the full Word of God.

Creation
The Triune God created all things, visible and invisible, for His own glory, by divine fiat, ex nihilo. There is no justification for accepting the various theories of scientific Materialism, including Evolution of Man and Theistic Evolution.

Separation
All Christians should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon the Savior. We must then avoid apostasy, worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest appearances in clothing, makeup, piercings, bodily markings, and jewelry. Christians dress in clothing that is both modest and gender specific.

Family
God instituted the family as the foundational unit of a healthy, organic society. Within the covenant of marriage, as He has ordained, parents are responsible to instruct their children in the Christian Faith, and to set before them a godly example. In the ordering of family life, Sacred Scripture requires wives to submit to their husbands, as unto the Lord, and for husbands to love their wives, even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.

Human Life
The sanctity and dignity of human life demands we respect it at all stages, especially in its most vulnerable stages and conditions. Human life begins at conception, and there is no question whatsoever that the unborn child is a living human being. Therefore, abortion can be nothing other than murder. Furthermore, the killing of the weak, the physically challenged, the mentally ill, or the aged, whether by deliberate act, neglect, or coercing or assisting a person to commit suicide is a grave sin, and murder.

Angels
God has created various orders of angels to carry out specific duties, including what Sacred Scripture refers to as the "divine council". The orders witnessed to in Sacred Scripture are Cherubim, Seraphim, and Watchers. Angels are creatures of intellect and will, and may appear as physical men. Lucifer, a covering cherub, is described as a beautiful angelic being, who rebelled against God and convinced a third of the angels to follow him in his rebellion. They were cast down from heaven as a result. Thus there are holy angels and fallen angels.

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