Section 1. The Bible
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.
Section 2. 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. The Trinity
We believe in the Trinity of the Godhead; there is one God (1) eternally existing in three equal but distinct persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2) He is All-knowing, All-present, All- powerful, All-loving, Just, Eternal, Never-changing, and Holy (3).
(1) Deut. 6:4 (2) Matt. 28:18-19; II Cor. 13:14 (3) Jer. 32:17,27; Psalm 139; 1 John 4:16; Romans 3:4-6; Rev. 4:8-10; Is. 40:28; Hab. 1:12
B. God the Father
We believe in God, the Father, and rejoice that He is sovereign over all His creation (1), that He foreordains those who will be saved (2), that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men (3), that He hears and answers prayer (4), that He saves from sin and eternal damnation all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (5), and that He has a paternal relationship to believers only (6).
(1) Ps. 95:3-5 (2) Eph. 1:3-6 (3) Dan. 2:21; 4:17 (4) John 15:16 (5) John 6:44; 3:16,18 (6) Rom. 8:15; John 8:41-44
C. God the Son
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son (1), born of a virgin (2), sinless in His life (3), who atoned for the sins of the world by His death, burial, and bodily resurrection (4). We believe in His ascension into Heaven (5), His perpetual intercession for His people (6), His personal coming in the air for His church (7), and His return to earth at the close of the tribulation to establish his millennial kingdom (8).
(1)John 3:16 (2) Matt. 1:23 (3) I Pet. 2:21-22 (4) I Cor. 15:3-4 (5) Acts 1:9 (6) Heb. 7:25 (7) I Thess. 4:13-18 (8) Rev. 19:11-16; Rev. 3:10
D. God the Holy Spirit
We believe in the person and deity of the Holy Spirit who (1)exalts Jesus Christ (2) convicts (3), regenerates (4), baptizes (5), indwells (6), seals (7) and fills (8). We believe Spirit baptism takes place at the time of regeneration (9) and that the filling of the Spirit is manifested by the fruits of the Spirit rather than by any specific spiritual gift (10). He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service. (11)
(1) John 16:13-15 (2) Acts 5:3-4 (3) John 16:8-11, 14:26 (4)Titus 3:5 (5) I Cor. 12:12-13 (6) I Cor. 6:19-20 (7) Eph. 1:13 (8) Acts 4:31; Eph. 5:18 (9) Acts 10:44-47, 11:16 (10) Gal. 5:16; Acts 4:31; Eph. 5:18 (11) Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 4:31; 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Revelation 1:10; 22:17
Section 3. Creation
We accept the Genesis account of creation, and believe that man came into being by direct creation of God, and not by evolution (1).
(1) Gen. 1 & 2; Col. 1:16; John 1:3
Section 4. Angels and Demons
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless angels (1). One of these, though created holy by God sinned through pride thereby becoming Satan, the Devil, the enemy of his Creator, leading a host of angels in rebellion against God (2). He became the god of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness and is destined to the judgment of an eternal punishment in the lake of fire (3).
(1) Col. 1:16; Heb. 12:22 (2) Ezek. 28:12-17; Rev. 12:7-9 (3) II Cor. 4:3-4; Eph. 2:22; Rev. 20:10; Eph. 2:22; Matt. 25:41
Section 5. Mankind
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 as apart from God we are totally depraved. 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, born and unborn, 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.
Section 6. 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 brought 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 into 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.
E. 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.
Section 9. Final Destinies
We believe that the souls of believers in Christ do at death immediately pass into His presence (1) and there remain until the resurrection of the body at the return of Christ when soul and body reunited shall stand before Christ to be judged of their Christian works for the giving of rewards, and they shall then be associated with Christ forever in glory (2). The souls of unbelievers remain after death in Hell until the final resurrection at the end of the millennium for judgment; the result of this judgment will be that all will be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to be punished with everlasting separation from the grace of the Lord and from the glory of His power (3).
(1) II Cor. 5:6; Phil. 1:23 (2) II Cor. 5:10; I Cor. 3:11-15; I Thess. 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:35- 58 (3) Luke 16:19-20; II Thess. 1:6-9; Rev. 20:11-15; Rev. 14:10
Section 7. The Church
We believe in the Church (1), a living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head (2) and of which all regenerated people are members (3). We believe that a local church is a company of believers in Jesus Christ (4), baptized by immersion after an acceptable confession of faith (5) associated for worship, work and fellowship (6), and having two offices, elder and deacon (7). We believe that to these visible churches were committed, for observance until the return of Christ, the ordinances of baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper (8), and that God has laid upon these churches the task of witnessing to a lost world to trust Jesus Christ as Savior (9), and of building up the saints in the faith once for all delivered (10).
(1) Matt. 16:18 (2) Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:16; Eph. 4:15. 5:23 (3) I Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 5:30; (4) Acts 2:41-42; (5) Acts 10:47-48 (6) Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25; (7) Phil. 1:1; (8) Matt. 26:16-20; Rom. 11:23-26 (9) Acts 1:6; Matt. 26:16-20 (10) Eph. 4:7. 11-16; Jude 3
Section 8. Missions
We believe that God has given the Church the great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to reach the nations both here and around the world.
Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20
Section 9. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that scriptural baptism is the immersion of a born-again believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem of our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to new life; that it is a prerequisite to Church membership. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of His death until He comes to be participated in by believers, and should always be preceded by a period of self- examination
Acts 8:36-39; John 3:23; Rom. 6: 3-5; Matt. 3: 16; Col. 2:12; I Cor. 11:23-28
Section 10. Giving
We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to them, is obligated by love to support the local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the Church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel.
Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:17- 18; I John 3:17
Section 11. Separation
We believe that separation is a doctrine as well as a practice and that the separation principle runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We believe that true spiritual fellowship is the result of a common faith and practice. We believe there are three aspects of Biblical separation.
A. Personal separation- the separation of the believer from worldly pursuits that are in opposition to serving God.
Josh. 24:15; Eph. 5:15-18; I John 2:15-17; II Cor. 6:14-7:1; Titus 3:10; John 10,11
B. Ecclesiastical separation- the separation of the Church from apostasy. Each local church is independent and autonomous and must be free from interference by any other ecclesiastical authority. We believe we are to reprove apostates rather than recognize them, to rebuke rather than to reason with them, to reject rather than to receive or unite with them.
II Cor. 6:14-17; II John 10-11; II Tim. 4:2-4
C. Practical separation- the separation of the believer from an erring brother. We believe that we must separate from those who continue in disobedience to the Word of God, but with a desire for, and a goal toward, restoration of the believer to full fellowship.
II Thess. 3:6,14,15; Rom. 16:17; I Cor. 5:11
Section 12. Holiness and Grace
We believe that God is holy, and in Him is no sin at all. Therefore, we, as His followers must strive to be holy as He is holy. Participation and involvement in habitual acts of sin is inconsistent with the teachings of God’s Word and violates this principle of holy living. We believe the “grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness.” God’s grace creates an environment where we can acknowledge our past sins and failures, humbly confess them to God and others, receive forgiveness, and seek to grow in holiness. We realize that all of us have violated God’s laws but want to always exalt in the grace of God towards those who are genuinely repentant.
Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 1:15,16; 2 Peter 2:9
Section 13. Human Sexuality
We believe God made mankind distinct male and female and sexually complementary as a display of His image. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.
Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; I Cor. 5:1; 6:9; I Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4; Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23
Section 14. Marriage and 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. We do not acknowledge homosexuality as a biblical, nor acceptable practice, in the sight of God. Our church cannot support, bless, or participate in the union of homosexuals. 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.
Section 15. Divorce and Remarriage
We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of sexual immorality. We take seriously Jesus’ conclusion of the Genesis account “what God has joined together let not man separate.” Because of this we will always work towards the reconciliation of marriages even in the case of infidelity. We believe the Bible allows for brief periods of separation but it is extremely limited concerning the grounds for divorce. In practice, any remarriage performed by an ordained minister of Vertical Life Church will be done after careful investigation, prayer, counseling, and making sure that the Biblical grounds for divorce have been met and all possibilities of reconciliation with the previous spouse(s) have been exhausted.
Malachi. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; I Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6
Section 16. Abortion
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Job 3:16; Psa. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1,5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44
The foregoing statements do not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe.