What Are Our Core Values?
1. Authority of Scripture:
We recognize the Bible as the inspired inerrant Word of God, the source of spiritual and moral authority and the basis of our teaching and preaching (II Tim. 3:15-17). The Cornerstone Statement of Faith embellishes this core value in many of the important areas.
We resolve to pursue outreach opportunities locally and throughout the world to present the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ – the Gospel (Acts 1:8). This includes building relationships with the unchurched (friendship evangelism), creating opportunities to accept Jesus as Savior in various church activities, as well as monetary, prayer, and other support for missionaries locally and throughout the world. See Item 11 of the Cornerstone Statement of Faith.
We will individually and corporately celebrate our love for God with praise to Him for our salvation and for the blessings involved in our daily life. We will also strive for guidance of the Holy Spirit in our daily walk (Ps. 66:4).
We believe that God is the provider of all we have and that He has entrusted it to us by His grace and we are required to be good stewards by honoring Him from the blessings from Him. This includes time spent in Christian service, taking care of His creation, prayer, and monetary giving (I Cor 4:2).
We recognize that we are to live in harmony with one another creating a family friendly body that is growing in Christ, serving one another as well as the community around us and reflecting His unconditional love to all (Acts 2:43-47).
We acknowledge the priority of prayer as individuals and a corporate body constantly seeking God’s will and the leading of the Holy spirit in everything (Phil 4:6). We strive to create consistent opportunities for prayer in all church activities.
We will reach out to others in sharing Christ and performing acts of service and kindness to hurting people and those who have needs in our community and around the world (Col 3:12). This effort goes well beyond the normal world recognized compassion, with the compassion example being Jesus Christ Himself.
We are committed to truth and transparency in all aspects of our daily life and in our relationships which reflects a genuineness that others can sense and know that they are valued (Ps 119:160, Eph 4:15).
9. Spiritual Gifts:
We are committed to identification, development, and use of God-given spiritual gifts in our body (I Cor 12:7, Rom 12:6, Eph 4:7, I Peter 4:10).
Our Statement Of Faith & Beliefs
1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in essence and having the same attributes, while distinct in personality and function.
(Deuteronomy 6:4,5; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3)
2. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (66 books) to be the inspired Word of God, inerrant and infallible and complete in the original writings, and the supreme and final authority for faith and life.
(2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
3. We believe in Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
(John 1:1,14; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; Hebrews 1:2,3)
4. We believe in the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. By His gracious working the believer is born again into God’s Kingdom, indwelt, and empowered for holy living and fruitful service. He distributes gifts to build-up and equip the Church for ministry.
(John 3:5; 16:8; Romans 8:9; Acts 1:8, 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Ephesians 4:11-12; 5:18)
5. We believe that all human beings are created in God’s image and designed to walk in fellowship with Him. Yet every person is a sinner by nature and by choice thereby incurring both physical and spiritual death.
(Genesis 1:26,27; 3:1-6; Romans 5:12,19; 3:23; 6:23)
6. We believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice for sins, taking our penalty upon Himself. Christ rose from the dead bodily and ascended into heaven where He now reigns as Lord and intercedes for His people.
(Isaiah 53:4-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6; Hebrews 10:10,25; Philippians 2:6-11; Romans 8:1)
7. We believe that a Christian is one who acknowledges and turns away from his/her sin, trusts Christ for forgiveness, and by faith receives Jesus as personal Savior and Lord. To know Christ in this way is to become God’s child and have the assurance of eternal life.
(Mark 1:l4,15; John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 1:9; 5:11,12)
8. We believe in the “blessed hope”, which is the personal, visible, and imminent return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
(Titus 2:13; John 14:1-3; Matthew 24:30,11; Acts 1:11)
9. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the Christian and the non-Christian, the eternal conscious suffering of the lost in hell, and the eternal blessed fellowship of the saved in heaven.
(I Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Hebrews 9:27)
10. We believe that Satan is the primary enemy of God, His work, and His people. Nevertheless the devil is a defeated foe destined for eternal destruction in the lake of fire.
(Colossians 2:15, Hebrews 2:14, 1 Peter 5:8,9; James 4:7; Revelation 20:10)
11. We believe in the Church, the Body of Christ, whose mission is to make disciples of all nations, faithfully preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order that believers may have life in His name. Through the ministry of the local church God intends that every believer be strengthened in the faith and equipped for works of service.
(Ephesians 1:22,23; 4:11,12,16; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:47)
12. We believe that Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the Church: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
(Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
13. We believe that God instituted marriage and ordained it to be between one man and one woman for life. (Genesis 2:18-25; Ephesians 5:22-33)
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage
Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage
A Basic Biblical Understanding of Marriage God designed marriage as the foundational element of all human society. Marriage is a divine institution for all of mankind (Gen. 2:18- 25). The marriage relationship is a covenant before God (Pr. 2:16-17; Mal. 2:14-16). Jesus Christ confirms that God ordained one man for one woman for life (compare Mt. 19:1-6 with Gen. 1:27; 2:18; 21-22).
Marriage authorizes sexual relations. We are to be sexually pure in our premarital relationships and faithful to the companion God gave us in marriage (I Thes. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4). Any sexual relationships outside of the bond of marriage is forbidden (Ex. 20:14).
Marriage is entered into through the marriage vows and is to be in subjection to civil laws unless those laws contradict the Bible (Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 5:29).
Marriage is not to be entered into by a believer and an unbeliever, but only by two believers or two unbelievers (I Cor. 7:39; II Cor. 6:14; Deut. 7:3-4). Therefore, our pastors will not marry a believer to an unbeliever nor will our facilities be used for such.
A Biblical Attitude Toward Divorce Malachi 2:14-16 tells us that God hates divorce. He hates it because it always involves unfaithfulness to the solemn covenant of marriage that two partners have entered into before Him, and because it brings harmful consequences to those partners and their children. Divorce in the Scripture is permitted only because of man’s sin. Since divorce is only a concession to man’s sin and is not part of God’s original plan for marriage, all believers should hate divorce as God does and pursue it only when there is no other recourse. With God’s help a marriage can survive the worst sins.
In Matthew 19:3-9, Christ teaches clearly that divorce is an accommodation to man’s sin that violates God’s original purpose for the intimate unity and permanence of the marriage bond (Gen. 2:24). He taught that God’s law allowed divorce only because of “hardness of man’s heart” (Matt. 19:8). Legal divorce was a concession for the faithful partner due to the sexual sin or abandonment by the sinning partner, so that the faithful partner was no longer bound to the marriage (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; I Cor. 7:12-15). Although Jesus did say that divorce is permitted in some situations, we must remember that His primary point in this discourse is to correct the Jews’ idea that they could divorce one another “for any cause at all” (Matt. 19:3), and to show them the gravity of pursuing a sinful divorce. Therefore, the believer should never consider divorce except in specific circumstances (see next section), and even in those circumstances it should only be pursued reluctantly because there is no other recourse.
The Grounds for Divorce The New Testament grounds for divorce are sexual sin, and when an unbeliever refuses to live with a believer. The first is found in Jesus’ use of the Greek word “porneia” (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). This is a general term that encompasses sexual sin such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and incest. When one partner violates the unity and intimacy of a marriage by sexual sin – and forsakes his or her covenant obligation – the faithful partner is placed in an extremely difficult situation. After all means are exhausted to bring the sinning partner to repentance, the Bible permits release for the faithful partner through divorce (Mt. 5:32; 19:9).
The second reason for permitting a divorce is in cases where an unbelieving mate does not desire to live with his or her believing spouse (I Cor. 7:12-15). Because “God has called us to peace” (v. 15), divorce is allowed in such situations. When an unbeliever desires to leave, trying to keep him or her in the marriage may only create greater tension and conflict. Also, if the unbeliever leaves the marital relationship permanently but is not willing to file for divorce, perhaps because of lifestyle, irresponsibility, or to avoid monetary obligations, then the believer is in an impossible situation of having legal and moral obligations that he or she cannot fulfill. Because “the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases” (1 Cor. 7:15) and is therefore no longer obligated to remain married, the believer may file for divorce.
The Possibility of Remarriage Remarriage is permitted for the faithful partner only when the divorce was on biblical grounds. In Matthew 19:9, Jesus includes remarriage as a part of the exception statement. The faithful spouse who divorces because of adultery, therefore, not only has the grounds for dissolving the marriage but for remarriage as well. That means that this believer will not be guilty of adultery if he or she remarries. In fact, a biblical divorce makes it clear that the faithful partner is free to remarry, but only in the Lord (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:1-3; I Cor. 7:27–28, 39). N Those who divorce on any other grounds have sinned against God and their partners, and for them to marry another is an act of “adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). This is why Paul says that a believing woman who sinfully divorces should “remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband” (I Cor. 7:10-11). If she repents from her sin of unbiblical divorce, the true fruits of that repentance would be to seek reconciliation with her former husband (Matt. 5:23-24). The same is true for a man who divorces unbiblically (I Cor. 7:11). The only time that a repentant person could remarry another is if the former spouse remarries, proves to be an unbeliever, or dies, in which cases reconciliation would no longer be possible.
The Bible also gives a word of caution to anyone who is considering marriage to a divorcee. If the divorce was not on biblical grounds and there is still a responsibility to reconcile, the person who marries the divorcee is considered an adulterer (Mark 10:12).
The Role of the Church Believers who pursue divorce on unbiblical grounds are subject to church discipline because they openly reject the Word of God. That person is subject to the steps of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 and as illustrated in I Corinthians 5:1-13. If a professing Christian violates the marriage covenant and refuses to repent during the process of church discipline, Scripture instructs that he or she should be put out of the church and treated as an unbeliever (v.17). When the discipline results in such a reclassification of the disobedient spouse as an “outcast” or “unbeliever”, the faithful partner would be free to divorce according to the provision for divorce as in the case of an unbeliever departing, as stated in I Corinthians 7:15. (Before such a divorce, however, reasonable time should be allowed for the possibility of the unfaithful spouse returning because of the discipline.) The one who obtains a divorce on unbiblical grounds and remarries is guilty of adultery (Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12).
The leadership in the local church should also help single believers who have been divorced to understand their situation biblically, especially in cases where the appropriate application of biblical teaching does not seem clear. For example, the church leadership may at times need to decide whether one or both of the former partners could be legitimately considered “believers” at the time of their past divorce, because this will affect the application of biblical principles to their current situation (I Cor. 7:17-24). Also, because people often transfer to or from other churches and many of those churches do not practice church discipline, it might be necessary for the leadership to decide whether a member’s estranged or former spouse should currently be considered a Christian or treated as an unbeliever because of continued disobedience. Again, in some cases this would affect the application of the biblical principles (I Cor. 7:15; II Cor. 6:14).
Any believer who is in a divorce situation that seems unclear should humbly seek the help and direction of church leaders, because God has placed those men in the Body for such purposes (Mt. 18:18; Eph. 4:11-16; Heb. 13:17).
Pre-conversion Divorce Salvation indicates that a person has begun a new life. That new life is defined by a pattern of obedience to what God has revealed about every area of life- including marriage and divorce. According to II Corinthians 5:17, the believer has become a “new creature” when he believes in Jesus Christ. This does not mean that painful memories, bad habits, or the underlying causes for past marital problems will no longer exist, but it does mean that Christ begins a process of transformation through the Holy Spirit and the Word. A sign of saving faith will be a receptivity and a willingness to obey what God has revealed about marriage and divorce in His Word.
According to I Corinthians 7:20–27, there is nothing in salvation that demands a particular social or marital status. The Apostle Paul, therefore, instructs believers to recognize that God providentially allows the circumstances they find themselves in when they come to Christ. If they were called while married, then they are not required to seek a divorce (even though divorce may be permitted on biblical grounds). If they were called while divorced and cannot be reconciled to their former spouse because that spouse is an unbeliever or is remarried, then they are free to either remain single or be remarried to another believer (I Cor. 7:39; II Cor. 6:14).
Repentance and Forgiveness In cases where divorce took place on unbiblical grounds and the guilty partner later repents, the grace of God is operative at the point of repentance. A sign of true repentance will be a desire to implement I Corinthians 7:10-11, which would involve a willingness to pursue reconciliation with his or her former spouse, if that is possible. If reconciliation is not possible, however, because the former spouse is an unbeliever or is remarried, then the forgiven believer could pursue another relationship under the careful guidance and counsel of church leadership.
In cases where a believer obtained a divorce on unbiblical grounds and remarried, he or she is guilty of the sin of adultery until that sin is confessed (Mark 10:11-12). God does forgive that sin immediately when repentance takes place, and there is nothing in Scripture to indicate anything other than that. From that point on the believer should continue in his or her current marriage.