The Hope Community Bible Church
Statement of Faith
I. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally and plenarily inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men. It is therefore truth without any error, complete and sufficient for all of mankind's needs. We believe the Bible to be the finished revelation of God and the center of true Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions shall be tried (II Tim. 3:16,17; II Pet. 1:19‑21).
We believe in the verbal (word for word) inspiration of the Scripture. The exact words written by the Biblical writers, not just their thoughts, were divinely preserved from error and are therefore God's words (Ex. 4:10-16, 31:18; Jer. 1:9). We believe in the plenary (full, complete) inspiration of Scripture. Every part of Scripture is equally inspired. We believe the Scripture is infallible. (Ps. 19:7; Jn. 17:17; Tit. 1:2). The infallibility of Scripture extends beyond just religious matters, and is also infallible in matters of history and science. We believe Scripture has been preserved. (Ps. 12:6-7; Jn. 10:35). We believe in a closed canon and that the process of special revelation and inspiration has ceased (I Cor. 13:8-13; Rev. 22:18-19); that the canon of 66 books (39 Old Testament, and 27 New Testament) is the only collection of divinely inspired books and writings which are therefore authoritative, sacred, normative, and binding. No tradition or claim of further revelation can replace the authority of the Scriptures (Ps. 119:89; II Tim. 3:16).
We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite, sovereign Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. We believe these three persons are one God, sharing one divine essence, each having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and each worthy of precisely the same worship, love, confidence, and obedience; and that in keeping with their unique relationship within this one Godhead, each carries out distinct ministries (Mt 28:19; John 1:1,14,18; 3:16; 5:23; 6:27; 14:9; 15:26; 17:26; Acts 5:3-4; I Cor. 8:6; 11 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3, 8).
We believe that in the functional aspect of the Godhead, the Bible presents a certain priority in function only, not in essence. In the work of the Godhead, the Father is the planner, source, and functional authority (Gen. 1:1-2), the Son is the channel, and the Holy Spirit is the active agent (Eph. 2:18). We believe that God has one single, all-inclusive, and comprehensive purpose, plan, or will. This plan (decree of God) is that eternal plan by which God has rendered all things certain and all events of the universe, past, present, and future (Exod. 20:2,3; Rom. 8:28; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 1:11; Rev. 4:11).
III. JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Second person of the Godhead. He is coeternal and coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit in essence. We believe in the humanity of Jesus Christ. He is fully God and fully man; one person with two distinct natures. We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of a woman. (Gen. 3:15; Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:18‑25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; 8:58; 10:30; Col. 2:9; I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 1:8).
We believe that Jesus Christ died a genuine death as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of the whole world. We believe that Jesus Christ was buried and then rose miraculously and bodily from the dead on the third day, and that His resurrection was an act of the Triune God. Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, where He is interceding for the saints. We are now awaiting His personal, premillennial, and imminent return for the saints, and the establishment of His Kingdom, to bring into consummation His work of redemption by ultimate triumph over Satan and his hosts (Is. 7: 14; Matt. 1: 18-25; 27:50; Luke. 1: 26-56; 2: 1-20; 24: 39; John. 3: 1-2; 20:30-31; Acts 1:11; 2:24; I Cor. 15: 1-28; I Thes. 4:16; Heb. 4: 14-15; 7: 25-26; 9: 24; I Pet. 3:18; I John. 2:2; Rev. 19:11ff).
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the truth of the gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the new birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. (Gen. 1:1‑3; Matt. 28:19; Mark 1:8; Luke 1:35; 24:49; John 1:33; 3:5-6; l4: 16-17, 26; 16:8‑11; Acts 5:30‑32; 11:16; Rom.8: 14,16,26,27; 15:19; I Cor. 13:8; Eph. 1:13; Heb. 2:4; 9:14).
We believe that God created angels, a highly ordered, organized, and innumerable company of spiritual beings, they are not to be worshipped, although they are a higher order of creation than man and have greater power than man, created to serve God and to worship Him.
1. Holy Angels
We believe the angels, who kept their holy position, are ministers of God to carry out His work, to minister to the saints, and they will accompany the Lord Jesus Christ at His return. During the present time they are sent forth especially to minister on behalf of those who will inherit salvation (Dan. 10:12-13; 12:1; Ps. 91:9-13; 148:2; Mt 13:41; 25:31; Acts 12:5-10; 12:23; II Thes. 1:7-8; Heb. 1:14; 2:3; Rev. 5:11-12).
2. Fallen Angels
We believe that the Devil is a created angel; "Lucifer, son of the morning" He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator, and introduced sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3: 1-15; Job 1: 6-7; Isaiah 14: 12-17; Ezk 28: 11-19). We believe that a great company of the angels followed him in his rebellion, some which became demons and are active as his agents and associates in the carrying out of his unholy purpose while others who rebelled are confined. We believe that Satan, as the enemy of God and the people of God, opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped. In his warfare he appears as an angel of light, even counterfeiting the works of God by fostering religious movements and systems of doctrine. These systems are characterized by a denial of the person and work of Christ and of salvation by grace alone (Job 1:12; 2:6; Zech. 3:1-2; John 8:44; II Cor. 2:10-11; 4:1-4; 11:2-4,13-15; Eph. 2:2; 6:10-12, 16; II Thes. 2:4; I Tim. 4:1-5; I Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:10).
We believe the Genesis account of creation is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man (spirit, soul and body) was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race (Gen. 1 and 2; John 1:3; Col. 1:16‑17).
VII. THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker. By voluntary transgression Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men sinned in him. In consequence, all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam's fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct. Therefore, they are under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Gen. 3:1‑6,24; Rom. 1:18,32; 3:10‑19).
We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by the shedding of His blood in death on the cross made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins. His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the Just dying for the unjust, Christ, the Lord, bearing our sin in His own body on the tree (Jonah 2:9; Is. 53:4‑7; Matt. 18:11; John 3:16; Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:24,25; I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 2:7-8; Heb. 2:14; I John 4:10; Rev. 1:5).
IX. THE NEW CREATION
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about by our sovereign God in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life (John 3:3-8 ; Acts 16:30‑33; II Pet. 1:4; Rom. 6:23; II Cor. 5:17-19; Eph. 2:1,5; Col. 2:13; I John 3:6-7).
X. REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that repentance is a change of mind and purpose toward God prompted by the Holy Spirit; that it is characterized by godly sorrow for sin as offensive to God and ruinous to the soul; and that true repentance is inseparably related to true faith (Luke 13:1‑3; 15:7; Acts 8:22; 20:21; Rom. 2:4; II Cor. 7:10).
We believe that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only condition of salvation. Faith is the knowledge of, assent to, and unreserved trust in the accomplished redemption of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures (Acts 16:3l; Heb. 11:6).
We believe that justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares us to be righteous through faith in Christ Jesus; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the imputation of God's righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood (Is. 53:11; Zech. 13:1; Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1-9; 8:1; II Cor. 5:18‑21).
We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner: first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior; second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord's return (John 17:17; I Cor. 1:30; II Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:25,27; I Thes. 4:3,4; 5:23; Heb. 10:10‑14; I John 3:2; Jude 24-25; Rev. 22:11).
XIII. THE SECURITY OF THE SAINTS
We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ The securing by God of all true believers unto the final salvation and the causing of them to persevere in grace until that time. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (John 6: 37-40; 10: 27-30; Rom. 8: 1, 38-39; I Cor. 1: 4-8; Phil. 1:6; I Pet. 1: 5; I John 3:9; Jude 1, 24).
XIV. THE CHURCH
We believe in the unity of all true believers in the Church which is the Body of Christ, which was established on the day of Pentecost, and that all believers, from Pentecost to the Rapture, both Jews and Gentiles, are added to this Church by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that this Church is manifested through the local church which is a congregation of immersed believers associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word; led by a pastor, elders and assisted by deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scripture. We believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self‑government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; and that on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final (Acts 2:41,42; 15:13‑18; 20:17‑28; I Cor. 11:2; 12:12-13; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:1‑6; 4:11; 5:24-25; Col. 1:18; I Tim. 3:1‑7).
XV. SPIRITUAL GIFTS
We believe God has given the Church spiritual gifts for the accomplishment of His purpose in the world. First, He gave gifted men for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the Body of Christ. (Rom. 12: 3-8; I Cor. 12: 4-31; Eph. 4: 7-12; I Pet. 4: 10-11).
We believe that certain spiritual gifts (among them the gifts of apostleship, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, and performing miracles) were given to confirm the words and work of God through the apostles and subsequently diminished from the life of the Church as the Biblical Canon matured. This is not to deny that often, particularly in response to prayer, God does delight in healing or in acting in miraculous ways for the benefit of His people or for the outworking of His purposes upon the earth (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:43; 5:12; I Cor. 13:8-13; II Cor. 12:12; Eph. 2:20; Heb. 2:1-4).
XVI. BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, under the authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life; that baptism is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership. We believe that the Lord's Supper is always by solemn self‑examination. We believe that the Biblical order of the ordinances is baptism first and then the Lord's Supper, and that participants in the Lord's supper should be baptized believers (Matt. 3:16; 28:19,20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41,42; 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3‑5; Col. 2:12; I Cor. 11:23‑28).
We believe in obedience to the Biblical commands to separate entirely from worldliness and ecclesiastical apostasy unto God. We believe the church is responsible to maintain the truth of God's Word (I Tim. 3:15) by separating from and exposing false teachers (Eph. 5:11; I Tim. 1:19-20; II John 9-11). The church is not to associate with a church, ecclesiastical organization, or religious leader who does not hold to the fundamental, cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith as revealed in the Scriptures (Mt. 7:15; Rom. 16:17-18; II Cor. 6:14‑7:1; 1 Thes. 1:9,10; II Thes. 3:6-9, 14-15; 1 Tim. 6:3‑5; II John 9‑11).
XVIII. CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience and the coming King of Kings (Exod.18: 21; II Sam. 23:3; Dan. 3:17, 18; Matt.22: 21; Acts 4:19, 5:29, 23:5; 20; Rom. 13:1‑7;).
We believe in the sovereign selection of Israel as God's eternal covenant people, that she is now dispersed because of her disobedience and rejection of Christ, and that she will be regathered in the Holy Land and, after the completion of the Church, will be saved as a nation at the second advent of Christ (Gen. 13:14‑17; Ezek. 37; Rom. 11:1‑32;).
XX. THE RAPTURE AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS
We believe in the imminent, premillennial return of Christ for His Church, and that at that moment the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seventieth week of Daniel (I Thes. 4:13‑18; I Cor. 15:42‑44, 51‑54; Phil. 3:20, 21; Rev. 3:10).
We believe that the Great Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the millennial reign (Is. 9:6-7; 11:1‑9; Dan. 9:25‑27; Matt. 24:29‑ 31; Luke 1:30‑33; Acts 2:29-30; Rev. 20:1‑6).
XXI. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who are justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire (Gen. 18:23; Prov. 14:32; Mal. 3:18; Matt. 25:34‑41; Luke 16:25; John 8:21 Rom. 6:17,18,23 7:6; I John 5:19; Rev. 20:14-15).