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The Articles of Faith

We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authoritative rule in our lives (II Timothy 3:16). Our beliefs about the central doctrines of the faith are contained in the Articles of Faith found in our church hymnals.

Christian Stewardship

We believe that Christian stewardship is produced by the indwelling, empowering presence of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us unto all good works (I Corinthians 6:10, Galatians 5:22-23 and II Thessalonians 2:13). Christian stewardship is demonstrated through honoring the rule of Christ in our daily lives and faithfully supporting the church as herein described.

The Nature of the Bible

The word "Bible" is translated from the Greek word meaning books. We affirm that the Bible contains the Word of God. Just as in our every day experience, a "word" is a bridge of communication between persons, so likewise God's Word is the medium of His communication to man. This does not mean that the Bible contains the literal words of God, taken down by human stenographers. Such a claim on the part of some Christians has unnecessarily alienated many reasonable persons from having a meaningful encounter with the truth of God contained therein. No, the Bible does not record divine dictation. Rather, within the Bible is disclosed the meaning of personal life and history as viewed by inspired men.

In a special sense, the Bible may be viewed as the "Manifesto" of Christians. It is the declaration that God is the Sovereign who declares the inner meaning of historical events and discloses the direction of the whole human drama. God's revelation is made known in the events of which the Bible is the record and the witness. To be a Christian is to see everything from this point of view.

History of the Bible

We know that the Bible was written in two languages. It took 1,000 years to write the Bible. Ezekiel wrote in Babylon, while some of Paul's letters were written in Rome - almost 2,000 miles apart. Yet, from among all the writings that sprung up over a period of 1,000 years and an area of 2,000 miles, God directed His servants to save just 66 Books. These were drawn by God's inspired men from among thousands of others and found their way to a common end, this marvelous work of God. Nowhere is there a parallel to this ingathering. Truly, the Bible is the Book of Books.

Old Testament was, and still is, the Scripture of the Jews. The Old Testament was the only Scripture Christians had until the New Testament was written. We call the New Testament so because we believe it contains the New Covenant of God with all His people.

If the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, how did we get it into English? Well, the Old Testament was translated into Greek about 200 years before Jesus came, because many Jews could not read Hebrew. When the New Testament was written in Greek, both Testaments were then in Greek. Next, they were translated into Latin because Rome replaced Athens as Mistress of the World, and because the most powerful Church leaders were Romans. The first Latin translation was made about 150 years after Jesus. In 386 A.D., Jerome gave a fresh Latin translation, which is still called the Vulgate (Common) because it put the sacred book into everyday language.

In the 14th century (1382-1384) the Bible was translated from the Vulgate into English by Wyclif. He was followed in this work by Cloverdale, Hereford, Tyndale and a host of worthy divines, many of whom were killed because of their work. It was not, however, until the 16th Century that the whole Bible was put into a modern language, based on the original Greek and Hebrew, when Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. Luther gathered 14 books which had been scattered throughout the Bible and which are called the Apocrypha (hidden) and put them between the Old Testament and New Testament. They were grouped together by Luther because he did not find them in any Bible except the Latin version. These books have almost totally disappeared from all modern Bibles except Student Bibles and Roman Catholic Bibles. This is why Roman Catholic Christians tell us we do not have the whole Bible. In 1611 the Standard Bible, known as the authorized or King James version, was translated by a group of English scholars commissioned by King James. This is the version we use most often today and which is most familiar to us.

In 1891 the Revised Version was published. In 1911 the American Standard Version was translated by a group of American and English scholars. The Revised Standard Version was published in 1951. Since the turn of the century a number of scholars have translated the Bible or the New Testament. Among them are such men as Schofield, Smith and Goodspeed, Berkely and Moffat. In later years other translations have been published. We should not call a new version a new Bible. It is the same Bible put into more familiar language.

It was the invention of the printing press with movable type by Gutenberg that made possible the widespread use and knowledge of the Bible and made unnecessary the tedious work of writing the Bible by hand, which task required a good scribe six months to complete.

Form and Content of the Bible

The Bible is divided into two parts; the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains 39 Books and the New Testament contains 27 Books. The Old Testament is divided into four sections in the English Bible.

1. The Law (First five Books)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
2. Books of History:
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.
3. Books of Prophecy:
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.
4. Books of Poetry or Writings:
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

The New Testament is composed of:
1. The Gospels
2. The History - i.e., Acts
3. Epistles
4. Revelation or Apocalypse

The Epistles are also divided into:
1. Paul's Epistles
2. Catholic Epistles - i.e., Letters written to no specific group of persons, but addressed to the whole Church, (James, Peter, Jude and John.)
3. Pastoral Epistles - i.e., Epistles giving advice for Church Order, Polity and Administration.

There are many forms of writing in the Bible - Poetry: Psalms; Drama:Job; Fables: Judges 9:7-15; Riddles: Judges 14:1214; Songs: Exodus 15, Judges 5; Short Stories: Ruth; Pure History: 1 Samuel 9:12; Law: Exodus 22. In fact, the Bible has illustrations of every form of literature.

Every good Christian ought to know the Books of the Bible in their proper order. The following passages ought to also be familiar:

1. The Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:5-21 or Exodus 20:2-17.
2. Psalms 23rd, 51st.
3. One Prophet ought to be well known, for example: Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah or Hosea.
4. The Beatitudes: Matthew 5:3-12.
5. The Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13, see also Luke 11:2-4.
6. At least one gospel ought to be familiar, that is, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
7. Two of Paul's Epistles, the greatest being his letters to Rome, Corinth, Colossae and Galatia.

Our teaching concerning Sin

We believe that sin is an idolatry that prevents our achieving true selfhood by preventing what should be our proper relationship to God, ourselves, and to our fellowmen.

What we believe regarding Redemption

We believe that redemption is the process wherein we are set free to return to growth in God's love through the faith that moves us to respond to this love as revealed in Jesus.

What we consider to be the Nature of Salvation

We believe that salvation means "wholeness". This movement toward wholeness takes place through Jesus Christ our Lord, since in Him God accepts our condition to Himself, and moves to restore the relationship which our sin has disrupted so that we may become what He intends us to be.

Our Teaching concerning Eternal Life

We believe that Eternal Life is a phrase used to describe the quality that one experiences when responding to the love of God revealed in Jesus.

Our belief about Jesus The Christ

We believe that Jesus is the Christ of God because He was the incarnation of the love and grace of God that can make us whole.

The Nature of the Church

We affirm that the Church is that company of baptized believers who are free to develop spiritually because they have discerned and accepted the love of God revealed in Jesus The Christ and who seek to cultivate this love in their lives and among other human beings.