Our Statement of Faith is meant to unify and bring clarity to some of our core beliefs. The statement is not meant to be a comprehensive expression of everything that we believe as a church or as individuals. We require that all elders and pastors of Blue Ridge be in complete agreement with this statement. Church members are not required to agree with all aspects of it but are asked to not create division where their view might differ. The most essential elements of this statement of faith relate to the answer to the question asked by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30-31: “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” It is our hope and prayer that everyone would ask that question, hear that answer, and believe in the Lord Jesus, and thus be saved.
OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH:
THE BIBLE: We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will, and the final authority for life and faith for all men. Thus we believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God.
GOD: We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is Spirit, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, sovereign, holy, just, righteous, faithful, merciful, loving, good, and actively at work in the world and lives of men today.
JESUS CHRIST: We believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son, eternally existing, who lived on earth as a real individual in history. He is true God and true man. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. He was tempted in every way, but yet was without sin. He died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. He rose bodily from the grave on the third day, ascended into heaven, where at the right hand of God the Father, He is now our High Priest, and Advocate. He is the One Mediator between God and man and the head of the church universal and this local body.
THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit is God, a person of the Trinity fully possessing all the attributes of God. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for godly living for service. Every believer is baptized with, sealed by, filled with, and given gifts by the Holy Spirit at salvation, although we may quench the Holy Spirit by disobedience subsequent to salvation. The Holy Spirit continues to fill us in relation to our obedience to God, empowers us towards wise living, gives us the ability to understand God’s Word, serves as a constant reminder that we are the children of God, prays for us in our weakness, and gives us guidance to live in holiness. We believe that speaking in tongues is not now nor ever was the common or necessary sign of the baptism or of the filling of the Holy Spirit. No supposed gift of the Holy Spirit enables man to receive revelations which supersede or equal the written Word of God, although we do believe that the Holy Spirit enables believers to discover God’s individual will and direction for each person’s life.
MAN: Man was created in the image of God with the spiritual purpose and ability to glorify God. Man possesses a body, soul, and spirit. Every man will exist eternally, either in everlasting life or in eternal punishment. Believing the entire Bible to be the infallible and inerrant Word of God, we believe the account of the creation and fall of Adam and Eve recorded in Genesis to be literally true. All men were “in Adam” when he sinned. Therefore, sin is imputed to all men and every man is born with a sin nature. Man is totally depraved, that is he is incapable of any work which will release him from the bondage or penalty of sin. Left to himself, man will never seek after God. However, despite his fallen nature, man’s worth is not to be taken lightly for it was for fallen sinful men that Jesus Christ gave His own life. Only through salvation may man participate in the divine nature and escape corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
SIN: Sin, which originated with Satan, entered into the human race through Adam. The penalty of sin is physical and spiritual death. Every man who has ever lived, except Jesus Christ, has personally committed sin. There are several types of sin including: a transgression or violation of God’s law; iniquity, that is an act which is inherently evil; failing to do what is right; missing the mark; acting in accordance with self will rather than the will of God; rebellion against God; unbelief or a denial of the truth of God. The only cure for sin is salvation through Jesus Christ.
SALVATION: Salvation from the penalty and power of sin is obtainable exclusively though Jesus Christ. Salvation is bound up in the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ, that is His death, burial, and resurrection, which paid the penalty for our sins. The shed blood of Jesus Christ was necessary for the forgiveness of our sin. Salvation is a free gift of God and can never be earned by any amount of good works. Man is saved by faith in Jesus Christ which includes repentance of his sin and acceptance of the work of Christ on the cross for forgiveness of sin. Saving faith must include an understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, belief of these facts, and trust in the Person and work of Christ. Salvation, once obtained, is eternally secure.
ORDINANCES: We believe that the church is to observe two ordinances: believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. There is no redemptive power in either of these ordinances but we observe baptism and communion as signs of identification with and obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe in baptism by immersion after a person has experienced personal saving faith in Jesus Christ.
SECOND COMING: We believe in the literal return of Jesus Christ to the earth as He promised. We believe that this will occur prior to the millennium. We also believe that the church universal will be raptured, that is to be caught up together and meet the Lord in the air, and that this may happen at any moment. We believe in the bodily resurrection of believers who have died to join with those who are alive to meet Christ. We believe that subsequent to the rapture the earth will be gripped in seven years of intense tribulation after which Christ and his forces will return to earth, take dominion, and rule on earth for a thousand years. The Eternal Kingdom will be established in heaven subsequent to the Great White Throne judgment in which all unbelievers will be judged. Satan and all his forces will be defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire.
FAMILY: Of the three human institutions ordained by God, the church, the family, and human government, the family was God’s first and most fundamental institution. Beginning with the first family, God gives families the ability and responsibility to bear and raise children. God’s pattern for families is for a man and wife to be united in a monogamous marriage for life to raise such children as the Lord gives. Husbands are to love their wives, express gentleness to them and give them honor. Wives are to love their husbands and to be submissive, which we do not understand to mean subservient, to their husbands. Children are to obey and honor their parents. Fathers are not to embitter their children. Parents, particularly fathers, are commanded by Scripture to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
THE CHURCH: Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church universal and this local body. The church universal is the body of true believers throughout the earth. No single human organization comprises the church universal. This is a local church and is not subject to any higher human authority, but we remain the willing bondslaves and servants of Jesus Christ. A local church is to be governed by elders and deacons, and both groups are to be directly accountable to the body of believers as they are also accountable to Jesus Christ.
HUMAN GOVERNMENT: Human government is ordained by God. Human government’s purpose is to bear the sword against evil, to punish the doer of evil and to reward the doer of good. We do not believe that it is the purpose of human government to coerce men to express faith in God. We do believe that it is God’s will, however, that human government should operate in accordance with God’s principles and moral absolutes. The church is not to control human government, but to act as an encouragement to human government to establish laws which uphold righteous standards and execute the laws with justice. We believe that one of the highest purposes of human government is the protection of human life from conception until natural death. Human government should punish those who exploit the poor, widows, and orphans. Human government should allow and protect the freedom to worship God and to carry one’s faith into action including the training of one’s children and public expressions of one’s faith. Human government should not attempt to take the place of God by acting as a sovereign or savior. Neither should human government take the place of the church or the family in the roles designated by God. Christians should pray for our rulers, honor them, and obey them except where to do so would cause us to sin against God. Christians have the duty, as the salt of the earth, to oppose moral corruption and to rebuke evil wherever it occurs including within human government.