In essential beliefs, we have unity.
“There is one body and one spirit ... there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all” (Eph. 4:4-6).
In non-essential beliefs, we have liberty.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters ... Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls ... So then each of us will give an account of himself to God ... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God” (Rom. 14:1, 4, 12, 22).
In all our beliefs, we show love.
“If I hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but also the secrets of God, and if I have faith that can move mountains—but have no love, I amount to nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2).
What we believe
The Nature of the Triune God
God is the creator and ruler of the universe. There is one God who eternally exists as three distinct coequal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:26-27, 3:22; Isa. 44:6; Matt. 28:19; John 1:1).
God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe and His creatures, and He guides history according to His appointed plan. He is all-powerful, all-loving and all-wise (Matt. 6:26; Acts 17:24-25; Eph. 1:11).
As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ is coequal and coeternal with the Father. At the Incarnation, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin taking on human nature, such that He is fully God and fully man in one person and will be so forever (John 1:14; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:3).
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and is coequal and coeternal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their sin and their need for Jesus Christ. He is the promised, permanent presence of God in every believer, enabling believers with power and discernment for godly living and with understanding for spiritual truth (Luke 12:11-12; John 16:8-11; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; Gal. 5:16-17).
The Authority and Inerrancy of the Bible
The Bible is a compilation of 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament that was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. As a divine-human product, it ultimately has its origin in God and, as such, the original manuscripts are without error. The Bible is not merely a biography or a history book or a loose collection of teachings on morality. Understood as a whole, the Bible reveals a redemptive story that for the believer serves as a framework for understanding God, His activity in the universe and humanity’s place in it. As God’s special revelation, the Bible is true and authoritative—that is, as the Word of God, it is the arbiter of what is true and the standard by which all other forms of revelation are judged (Prov. 30:5; Ps. 119:105; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21).
The Spiritual Lostness of the Human Race
Humanity was uniquely created in the likeness of God in order to enjoy relationship with Him and to be His representatives on earth. At the Fall, this likeness of God in humanity was severely defaced though not erased, leaving all people with a sinful nature—that is, with hearts that are oriented away from God. Sin separates people from God. All people are under the judgment of God and in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ (Isa. 53:6, 64:6; Rom. 3:23, 5:12, 6:23).
Salvation by Grace Through Faith in Christ Alone
Salvation is by God’s grace because, though it was not required of God, He chose to implement a plan of salvation to restore fallen humanity. Salvation is also by grace because people could never remedy their sin by self-improvement or good works.
God’s redemptive plan for humanity is mediated solely through faith in Jesus Christ who died on a cross and rose again three days later. God’s free gift of salvation is received through faith in Christ. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith, we are saved. Salvation includes the singular event of receiving Jesus Christ into one’s life by faith and also the progressive work of God that continues on in the life of the believer until the culmination of God’s redemptive plan.1
By God’s grace and keeping power—and not by the self-effort of the Christian2—God preserves for eternity all those who belong to Him (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 8:28-30; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:5; 2 Pet. 1:10-11).
The universal Church is composed of all those, in every time and place, who have been chosen in Christ and united to Him through faith by the Spirit into one Body, with Christ Himself as the Head (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22, 4:15-16). The local church is a visible, contextualized expression of the larger universal Church as believers assemble together.
The responsibility of the church is to advance God’s Kingdom and its values on earth until Christ returns. The tasks of the church include corporate worship, the teaching and preaching of the Word of God, the practice of the ordinances of baptism (AABC practices baptism by immersion) and the Lord’s Supper, the building up of one another toward Christ-like maturity in the equipping and exercising of spiritual gifts, the ministry to the poor and needy, and the proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the earth through both local and global evangelism (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Gal. 2:10; Eph 4:11-13, 5:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 John 3:17).
Spiritual gifts are manifestations of the indwelling Holy Spirit, enabling believers to edify the Church and minister to the world (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11-16). All believers are valuable, contributing members and their various roles are not indicative of their importance to the church (1 Cor. 12:12-31). Love is the motivation for Christian service (1 Cor. 13:8, 13). The “sign gifts” were given for a specific time and purpose during the time of Jesus and the Apostles and, since the New Testament era, have ceased to operate in a way that is considered normative. This does not mean that God does not or will not allow these miraculous gifts to be expressed at His appointed time.3
The Culmination of God’s Redemptive Plan
God, in His own time and in His own way, will fulfill His redemptive plan for the world. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth (Luke 21:27; Acts 1:9-11), the dead will be raised (1 Cor. 15:22-24; 1 Thes. 4:15-17), all men will be judged in righteousness and Christ will establish His kingdom (1 Cor. 3:12-13; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 9:27-28). The unrighteous will dwell in a place of everlasting punishment (Acts 17:30-31; 2 Thes. 1:9), and the righteous will dwell forever with the Lord in everlasting joy (Matt. 25:23; Rev. 20:11-15).
1. Salvation is the progressive, redemptive work of God that consists of many links in an unbreakable chain of events spanning the past, present and future. Within this extensive work of God, there are events that, for the believer, are completed one-time events (e.g., justification), others that are ongoing (e.g., sanctification) and still others that are yet to be realized. As such, the term salvation is being used here in its broad sense.
2. Salvation is primarily a work of God, but God has decreed that believers respond willingly to God’s ongoing work of conforming believers to the likeness of His Son. Though only God knows who are truly His, believers will evidence the outworking of the Spirit.
3. Like the wind, the Spirit moves as it pleases and it is not for us to confine the Spirit’s activity. With regard to the “sign gifts” (speaking in tongues, healing and prophecy), our concern is not whether these gifts occur today but rather how these gifts function, particularly as they were presented in the New Testament narratives and epistles. Namely, the miraculous signs of speaking in a recognized language not previously known by the speaker and physical healings were signs or validating indicators allowed by God to demonstrate that the Gospel preached by the Apostles was truly from God. The section on sign gifts is included not because it is viewed to be an essential doctrinal matter but rather for pastoral reasons. We recognize that many churches around the world hold different convictions as to the present operation of sign gifts. Since the absence of clarification would leave the undesirable potential for confusion and disorder in our corporate gatherings, we feel it is best to be upfront about this church's convictions.