Statement of Faith for
The Pillar Network
1. The Scriptures
We believe the Bible, the canon of scripture, is the Word of God. The Bible was given to humanity as a gracious gift of God’s special and authoritative self-revelation. All of the Bible’s original manuscripts were divinely inspired, having been written by individuals as the Holy Spirit carried them along. Because God is the ultimate Author of scripture, the Bible and its individual parts are free from error and are totally true and trustworthy. The central theme of scripture is redemption. It shows God’s saving purposes in Jesus Christ. God’s Word has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The scriptures alone are the infallible rule of faith for the church. A local church is disloyal to Christ if it strays from scripture in faith or conduct, because the church belongs to Him (Psalm 19:7; Psalm 119:105, 106; Matthew 4:4; Mark 13:31; John 8:31, 32; John 17:17; Acts 20:32; 2 Romans 10:16, 17; Hebrews 4:12; Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21).
2. The Trinity
We believe that there is one living and true God, existing eternally in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three persons contain the very nature of God and are equal in every divine perfection. They each execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence, and redemption. The triune God is self-existent and self-sufficient, perfect and immutable, infinite and all-knowing, purposeful and all-powerful, sovereign and worthy of our praise, loyalty, and love (Genesis 1:1, 26; Deuteronomy 32:3,4; Psalm 48:10; Isaiah 43:10, 13; Malachi 3:6; John 1:1, 3; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24; Romans 1:19, 20; Ephesians 4:5, 6).
3. God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit who is good, righteous, and just. He is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. He reigns with providential care over His universe and infallibly foreknows all that shall come to pass according to his sovereign will. He saves all who come to Him through Jesus Christ from sin and death. He desires worship and obedience from the saints, and He hears and answers their prayers. He deals mercifully in the affairs of men, yet He demonstrates wrath towards unrepentant sinners (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 19:1; Luke 10:21,22; Matthew 23:9; John 3:16; 6:27; Romans 1:7;1 Timothy 1:1, 2; 2:5, 6; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6).
4. Jesus Christ
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who exists having two natures, fully human and fully divine. The natures of Jesus are without confusion, change, division, or separation. The eternal Son of God was conceived when the Holy Spirit miraculously overshadowed the virgin Mary. Jesus Christ was born of Mary, lived a sinless life, died as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice for our sins, and rose bodily from the dead on the third day. He ascended into heaven, where he intercedes for His people as an eternal high priest. One day, he will return bodily and visibly in all his glory to judge the earth and establish his eternal kingdom. He is the head of the church, having purchased it with his own shed blood. All who claim allegiance to Christ are to obey his commands, imitate his life, and promote his gospel (Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–38; John 1:1; 13:15, 16;20: 28–31; Acts 1:11; 20:28; Romans 5:6–8; 6:9–10; 9:5; Ephesians 5:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:25; 9:28; 12:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 2:21–23).
5. Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He proceeds from the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He graciously works to call, regenerate, sanctify, and empower all who profess saving faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and serves as an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. He is the source of all scripture and illuminates them for all who desire to know truth. This results in personal transformation through the renewing of the mind. The Spirit of God helps believers to engage in spiritual warfare, and He gives His fruit to those who walk in Him. He constitutes the church as God’s family and promotes its unity and maturity. He grants spiritual gifts to each believer for service and promotion of the gospel. He provides endurance for all believers and seals them for the final day of redemption (John 3:5–8; 4:24; 14:16,17; 6:63; Acts 1:8; 2:1–4; Romans 8:9–11; 12:2; Galatians 5: 22–25; Ephesians 1:13–14; 4: 3–6, 11–13; 6:10,11; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6–7).
We believe humanity, both male and female, is the special creation of God, made in His image for His glory. Mankind was created that we might enjoy and delight in God, and worship Him as a result. Man was created with a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit. Man was created with intelligence and will. Each person exists as a moral creature that is accountable for his/her choices before God. People were created to be relational. They were created to relate to God and to one another, most intimately through marriage, family, and the church. Men and women, as image-bearers of God, demonstrate the dignity and sanctity of all human life. As a result, every person possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. Men and women are equal in the sight of God, and they have clearly defined roles that complement each other and reflect the glory of the Triune God. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman exclusively in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The husband is to be the head of the wife, which entails loving nurture and spiritual leadership. The wife is to respect her husband and to submit to him willingly as unto the Lord. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing from the Lord. They are to obey their parents in the Lord. Parents are to raise their children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. The Bible opposes all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography (Genesis 1:26–30; 2:5–7, 15–25; Deuteronomy 6:4–9; Joshua 24:15; Romans 1:19–32; 3:10–18, 23; 1 Corinthians 1:21–31; Ephesians 2:1–22; 5:21–6:3; Colossians 1:21–22; 3:9–11).
The first man and woman were created innocent of sin, but rebelled against God and thus introduced sin and death into the human race. Consequently, all people have a sinful nature that has corrupted every aspect of their being; they are spiritually dead in their sins. Every sinner is wholly inclined toward evil and rebellion against God and can do nothing righteous in their own strength. As a result, all people are by nature servants of sin and under God’s wrath. They are subject to all of the harmful and deadly consequences of their sin both temporal and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus Christ sets them free through the message of the gospel. Only God’s grace in Jesus Christ can restore people to a right relationship with God (Genesis 3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-19, 23; 5:12-21; 7:23-25; Ephesians 2:3-10; Hebrews 2:14-15;Titus 1:15; James 1:14-15).
We believe salvation is offered to all people and comes by grace alone through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It results in justification through the grace of election, calling, regeneration, and spiritual adoption. Salvation continues in sanctification and will culminate in the perseverance and glorification of all saints when Christ returns. There is no salvation apart from personal repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; salvation cannot be gained in any other way. Since human sinners both by nature and choice, they naturally face the condemnation of God apart from salvation. The Holy Spirit regenerates and draws sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. In that moment, they become new creations in Christ, delivered from condemnation to gifted with eternal life.
In keeping with the Protestant tradition, we believe that salvation comes by faith alone, in Christ alone, by God’s grace alone, according to the Holy Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone. There is no mixture of faith and works in regards to salvation. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and who have been sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end (Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Ecclesiastes. 2:11; John 1:12,13; 5:30; 8:12; Ephesians 2:4–10; Romans 3:23–24; Romans 8:28-39; 2 Corinthians 5:17–20; 1 John 3:2).
9. The Church
We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all born-again persons are members. We believe local churches are the visible expression of the universal church on earth. The local church is an autonomous congregation of baptized believers operating under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The congregation is to gather regularly to celebrate God-centered worship, to commit to the teachings of Scripture, to exercise its gifts for the work of service, and to enjoy a common fellowship and unity in Christ. Every church member has the responsibility to give faithfully of his time, abilities, and material possessions to support the mission and ministries of the church. The church is to obey the Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations by both local evangelism and global missions (1 Timothy 3:1–12; Galatians 6:1–2; Matthew 18:15–17; 2 Corinthians 8–9; Philippians 4:10–19; Matthew 28:16–20; John 20:21–23).
There are two ordinances instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ for the local church to celebrate regularly—baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This event signifies a believer’s death to sin and resurrection to new life as a result of faith in and obedience toward the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper is an event designed to remember the Lord’s sacrificial death for his people, to confess and cleanse sin from the local congregation, and to anticipate the Lord’s return. Church discipline is to be exercised according to scriptural principles (Matthew 4:16,17; 18:15-20; Mark 14:22-25; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34).
There are two scriptural offices in the local church: Elder and Deacon. The Elders are responsible for the spiritual development and oversight of the local church before God. Elders serve as pastors, or under-shepherds, of Christ. Deacons are chosen from the congregation and are to function as servants to the church, assisting the Elders in caring for church members and church ministries (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
10. Liberty and Cooperation
We believe that every Christian is to relate directly to God and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith and conscience. All Christians should live for the glory of God and the well being of others. They should strive to be blameless before the world, and they should be faithful stewards of their possessions.
Every local church is to be independent and free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority. The institution of the Church and the State must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its God-ordained duties and being free from dictation or patronage of the other.
We believe the local church can best promote the gospel of Jesus Christ by cooperating with like-minded churches in an organized structure. Such an organization exists and functions by the will of the churches choosing to be involved. Cooperation is voluntary and may be terminated at any time (Acts 15:36,41; 16:5; Romans 12:1,2; 14:7-9, 12; Colossians 1:9,10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 16:1; Galatians 1:1-3; 1Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:1,2; Revelation 1:4, 10, 11).
11. Last Things
In His own time and way, God will bring the world to its appropriate end. Jesus Christ will return to the earth bodily and visibly in glory, the bodies of the dead will be raised, and He will judge all people in righteousness. The unrighteous, along with the Devil and his demons, will be consigned to hell, the place of eternal punishment and suffering. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and forever dwell, along with the elect angels, in the glory of heaven with the Lord (Matthew 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15).
Other Statements of Faith We Affirm: