Why have a statement of faith?
From the time of the early church to the present, Christians have laid out concise and definitive statements of doctrinal belief. These Statements of Faith, grounded in and guided by Scripture, have served to teach, unify, and guard the church. This present Statement of Faith affirms our belief in historic, biblical Christianity and, while serving this local church particularly, unites us with all those who affirm the truths of the historic, biblical faith. Members of ECF gladly affirm these truths, believe, and seek to live in accordance with them.
We believe the entire canon of Scripture (Genesis – Malachi, Matthew – Revelation), to be: That divinely inspired and preserved, complete, accurate, inerrant, supremely authoritative, revealed will and Word of God. That it is so to the exclusion of and as the solitary measure of all other teachings, sayings, writings or works be they held sacred or secular. That it is the rule, instruction and judge concerning our actions and attitudes in righteousness, and is God’s divine revelation of his salvation plan for mankind through Jesus Christ.
(Rev. 22:18-19, Gal. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:16-21, Ps. 138:2, Josh. 1:8-9, Isa. 40:8, John 6:68, 1 Tim. 6:3-4, 2 Peter 1:3,4, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Matt. 5:18, Rom. 1:16,17.)
We believe in the one true God of the Scriptures. That He is that self-existent, Spirit who within His undivided substance, triunely exists as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to and from all eternity. That as the infinite, loving, merciful, just, gracious, holy, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, sovereign creator, He is also the sustainer of all things.
(Deu. 4:39, 6:4,5, Psalm 90:2, John 5:26, John 4:24-26, Matt. 3:16,17, 28:18,19, 1 Cor. 12:4-6, 2 Cor. 13:14, 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 Tim. 1:17, Job 11:7-9, John 3:16, Ps. 136:1, Deut. 32:4, James 1:17, Rev. 4:8, Mal. 3:6, Jer. 32:27, Rev. 19:5-7, Ps. 147:5, Ps. 139:7-12, Dan. 4:34, Gen. 1:1, Col 1:12-17)
We believe that the second person of the eternal Trinity, The Son, is the only mediator between God and man. That he became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth. That he was born of the virgin Mary, lived sinlessly according to his sinless nature, was crucified for sinners and was buried and arose again the third day. That he ascended to his throne at the right hand of God the Father, and there remains as very man and very God, interceding for his Church until the appointed time of his bodily return to earth to gather his Church, establish his kingdom and execute judgment against his enemies.
(John 1:1-14, 1 Tim 2:5, Luke 1:26-35, Heb. 7:26, 1 Cor. 15:3-7, 1 Peter 3:22, John 20:17, Acts 1:11, Heb. 4:14-16, John 14:2-4, 1 Cor. 15:24, Rev. 12:10, 2 Tim. 4:1)
The Holy Spirit
We believe that The third person of the eternal Trinity, The Holy Spirit, is that member of the godhead by whose direct agency the work of Christ’s atoning sacrifice is applied to the individual believer. That he indwells each true believer and according to his being given by the Father at the pleading of Christ is the presence and power of God among his people to fill each believer’s heart with the true love of God and his Christ. That he empowers the believer for effective witness and holiness, governs the individual’s heart in holiness and thus the Church at large, and leads believers into all truth through the opening of the scriptures and the understanding. That baptizing the believer into Christ, he bestows all giftings and graces individually and corporately to bless and sanctify as he personally deems fit, and to preserve and bring each believer to that final conformity to the image of Christ.
(Matt. 28:19, Acts 5:1-6, Eph. 4:30, Heb. 10:26-29, 1 Pet. 1:2, John 14:16,17, Gal. 4:6,7, Rom. 5:5, Acts 1:8, Rom. 8:1-16, Acts 14:16-18, John 16:13, 1 Cor. 12:1-13, 2 Cor. 3:18, Rev. 2:7-29, 3:6- 22)
We believe that Satan, (the Devil or Lucifer), is that angel who was once the chief among the created angels who then fell irretrievably into sin through pride. That he led a certain company of angels (called demons in the Bible, who are also irretrievably lost) in open rebellion against God; was the tempter and enticer of our first parents (Adam & Eve) to commit sin in disobedience to God; was totally and completely defeated by Jesus Christ at Calvary yet remains the active adversary of all righteousness, The Church and every redeemed man in it. That his final disposition will be to be cast into a lake of fire to suffer its agonies with his demons and followers among men for all eternity.
(Rev. 20:2, Ezek. 28:12-19, Isa. 14:12-15, Rev. 12:3,4, Jude 6-9, Gen. 3:1-19, Heb. 2:14, 1 Pet. 5:8, Rev. 20:10-15)
We believe that mankind is the only one of all God’s creations fitted for fellowship with God. That through the willful disobedience to God of the first man, Adam, the entire human race fell captive to sin and it’s corruption’s in Adam. That (as descendants of Adam) every child of man, with the sole exception of Jesus Christ, is born a partaker of this fallen nature and sinful state. That the nature of this depravity is such as to render man corrupt in every aspect of being so that he is incapable of rendering any acceptable work of righteousness unto God, and is left with such wickedness and contempt for God as to be irreversibly so, apart from a divine and sovereign work initiated and performed by God in the fallen soul of man.
(Gen. 1:26-27, 3:8-9, Rom. 3:10-18, 5:12, 9:16, Gal. 3:22)
Salvation by Grace
We believe that salvation is a pure work of unmerited grace alone. That it is that permanent, sovereign work of God without which no man shall see God. That wherein, the Holy Spirit convicts the individual of his sinful nature and lost state, convinces them of God’s judgment of sin and sinners and reveals the righteousness and deity of Christ. The will being renewed, that the elect individual is infallibly enabled and drawn to repent from his sins and to have faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Wherein that substitutionary sacrifice is applied to his fallen soul, he is cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ and pardoned, indwelled by God the Holy Spirit and made a partaker of the divine nature of Christ, inclining the believer toward holiness and away from sin. This work called the “new birth”, continues in the life of the individual in sanctification, unerringly bringing them into conformity to the image of Jesus Christ until that work is perfected in death or Christ’s return.
(Eph. 2:8-9, John 6:37, 44, John 3:6-7, John 16:8-11, Ps. 110:3, John 6:37, Gal. 3:22, Rom. 3:25-26, 8:9, Heb. 3:14, 1 John 3:2, Eph. 5:9, Eph. 2:2-10)
We believe that The Church (properly called the Body of Christ), is that body comprised of all those possessing a saving faith in Jesus Christ (as explained in "Salvation by Grace" above), regardless of organizational or denominational affiliation or non-affiliation. That The Church appears in society as individual churches, assemblies, fellowships and congregations gathered together for Biblical worship, instruction in God’s Word and the life of holy service, fellowship and evangelization.
(Col. 1:23-25, Rom. 1:17,18, 1 Cor.1:1-2, Mark 16:15, Titus 1:5, Acts 2:38-42)
We believe that Jesus Christ instituted and directly commanded the perpetual practice of only two official sacraments for the modern Church to obey and employ as specific testimonies of his person and work: The Lord’s Supper, and Water Baptism. Concerning the Lord’s Supper, we deny the doctrine of transubstantiation. Concerning Water Baptism, we affirm it to be that outward sign of the inward work of regeneration.
(Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 1:4,5, Rom. 6:3-11, 1 Cor. 11:23-29)
We believe in the imminent, literal and physical return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in his glorified body. That in coming he will complete his kingdom, render final judgment on all creatures and creation consigning the lost to a literal and eternal torment in the same lake of fire into which Satan and his angels will also be cast. That He will perfect all of the elect and gather them into his unveiled presence for all eternity, destroying and re-creating the heavens and the earth.
(Acts 1:10,11, Matt. 24:15-21, 2 Cor. 5:8, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, Rev. 14:9-11, 19:11-21:6, 22)
We believe that governments among men and their accordant authority were instituted by God and are sustained by him for the purpose of maintaining an orderly society through the enactment and enforcement of laws. That it is the role of the Church and individual Christians to abide under, pray for and cooperate with those governments, as much as is in our power to do so, and in as much as they neither require us as citizens to do anything God expressly forbids in his Word, or forbids us as citizens to do anything God requires in his Word.
(Rom. 13:1-8, 1 Tim. 2:1-5, Mark 12:17, Dan. 3, Acts 4:19-21)
We believe that the Bible indicates but two offices to be instituted in the governing structure of the local church; Elders* (hereafter “Pastors”) and Deacons. While the Scripture nowhere requires a specific number of each, the general duties and qualifications of each are given. The Pastors are to devote themselves to the preaching of the Word and to prayer – exercising the spiritual oversight of the congregation; and the Deacons are to devote themselves to ministries of mercy and care to the body allowing the Pastors to concentrate on their responsibilities. Pastors are uniformly designated as males only, while deacon may be either male or female.
(Acts 6:1-6; Rom. 16:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13 & 5:17-20; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5)
The 5 Solas of the Reformation
"Sola" is a latin word that means 'alone.' The 5 Solas are a succinct distillation of what the Bible teaches regarding its authority, and central truths of the gospel. We hold that the Bible teaches:
Scripture alone [Sola Scriptura] is the foundation for faith and practice,
and it teaches that we are saved by grace alone [Sola Gratia], not by our merit,
through faith alone [Sola Fide] and not our effort,
through the saving work of Jesus Christ alone [Solus Christus], not our righteousness,
all to the glory of God alone [Soli Deo Gloria]!