We hold tightly to a suspicion of our thoughts, apart from divine insight, on the invisible things. So we rely on the speech of God to tell us what is true, to give form and range to our perspective of those things that are out-of-sight, to declare the righteous and true Divine decisions. We are certain that the speech of God is the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.
We hold that these 66 books were given without error by the God who cannot lie.
God, among all of His competencies, is a great Communicator. If He has spoken, that message is meant to be understood. We can know and we can surely understand what God says.
So one of the important labors of this church is to bring the Speech of God—the 66 books of the Bible—to light, and then to bear on our situation. The Bible is to form our thoughts, its reading is to mark our days, its words are intended to live regally among us. It is not our place to judge the Word, but it must bear witness to, and over, us.
Let's be clear—we are responsible to hear, and then to obey.
We believe that God is a Person, and thus we can know Him. We know Him as we are held in awe by His works, as we obey His commands, and especially as we listen to and receive Jesus Christ.
There is one God. The one God is a Trinity, which means that He exists in three Persons. We don't pretend to comprehend this nature of God (and would feel sorry for ourselves if we did).
God is different from what we would think of Him without His help. No one arrives at accurate or righteous thoughts of God except those are given to Him. And no one enters a safe situation with God apart from belief in Jesus Christ.
God is great—in understanding, in power, in mercy. He is gracious and full of compassion. He is slow to anger. He is good to all, the just and the unjust. God is near to all those who call on Him in truth. At EBC, we call upon Him.
God was in the beginning. He will be at the end. And with His plans are no failing.
And our faith to God is that He is not only existing, but that He has acted to rescue: "God so loved the world that He gave His Son."
We believe in Jesus, who is fully God forever and fully man forever. This is a wonder.
He is the Creator of all and the One who holds everything together. We are thus taking pains to do what we do without grumbling.
Jesus is able to forgive all sins that every person has committed, and just as importantly He is offering to forgive them and taking pains to advertise this offer. Forgiveness of sins is possible because Jesus' bloody, violent death was accepted by God the Father as the means to cancel the penalty He had decided for each sin.
The worst of sinners can stand justified before God the Father if he is recognized by Him to be "under" the blood of Christ.
We believe Jesus spoke for God to all people in 1st century Palestine. He was crucified, and then raised bodily out of the dead on the first day of the week. Then He ascended to the glorified position of the "right hand of the Father." One day, this exaltation will be an established fact. Every knee of every sentient creature will touch the ground before Jesus and every mouth will concede that He is the Lord of all.
He is Lord of all because God the Father has promoted Him to that high place. He is entitled to our interest, worship and service—in fact to everything critical that we call our life. This is what we mean by believing in Jesus.
We believe the Holy Spirit is a Person Who directs people's hearts to another Person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ.
We're sure that His presence is not intended to promote zaniness or disorder, but to lead people's thoughts to Jesus Christ: 1) to convict people of their sin in not believing (rightly) in Jesus; 2) to persuade people of a Divine righteousness even in the absence of Jesus Christ; 3) to bring them a certainty of the judgment of Satan even as that Evil One rebels against Christ.
The Holy Spirit continues and extends the ministry of Jesus Christ throughout the world. He changes—for the better—persons and families and neighborhoods. We keep asking and seeking and knocking on Heaven's door for more of His working. Our might cannot effect the change that is required in our homes and neighborhoods; we need the Spirit of God.
We (because that's who we're talking about here) are riven. On the one side we are the marked-out creation, made in the image of God. Then again, we are gone astray or broken in every aspect: in body, in feeling, in considering, in worshiping.
We are created in God's image, which means that we are deputies to enact God's will on the earth. It also implies that we are given reason and self-consciousness to find out God's wish, to search for expressions to praise Him, to further define the world He made. In short, we are to live toward God and act from His will. This calling lends dignity to our condition.
But we don't live toward God! "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We are lazy just at the point when diligence is called for. We complain for what has been given to us and covet after what has not been given. We deal treacherously with our neighbors. Underneath our tongue is falsehood. We seize the creation and either worship or waste it. We mismanage: our thoughts, our time, our material goods. We don't worship God as He calls for.
And all this carelessness has serious consequences. Because it is God's world and we are in God's image the situation is dire. We are accountable for our shortcomings.
Surely it's not enough under these shortcomings to self-actualize or get in touch with our spiritual, warm-and-fuzzy side. Apart from some substantial grace which finds its way from outside of us, we are lost, unsafe, unclean, and condemned to die.
We believe the Trinity rescues ungodly people through the Gospel.
As people hear the account of Jesus' death for their sins, His three days in a tomb, and His resurrection out of the dead into a new life, occasionally a person believes that these events actually happened! He turns from some other reliance and trusts that God will too rescue him by uniting him to Christ and associating him with these Gospel events. And this new believer begins hoping for the second appearing of Jesus from heaven, when his belief will become sight.
As we said, sometimes a person believes, but it is never an accident. God gives a person to trust these events as true, which is to say that He calls him. And God calls a person graciously; He is not responding to a glimpse of that person's potential or recalling some good deed that he has done. Every act of rescue is "by grace, not of works, so that no person can boast [that salvation is just his reward]."
As a person believes, God forgives his trespassing. He brings him out of Satan's jurisdiction, and places him into service to Jesus Christ. He brings him into God's own family and calls him "son" or "daughter." He places him into a body of other believers where he can work out the purpose of this rescue: good works.
God will always move to reconstruct the habits and disposition of those He rescues. The rescued person will never be the same.
Sanctification and Christian Conduct
We believe that God has graciously called us out of the world and formed us into a people that have received mercy. Thus our behavior should be different and (dare we say) better. This virtue, as the call, is a gracious gift. It is also something to be pursued.
We, of all people, have been re-created, and the essential act of the new nature is to single-mindedly love our brothers and sisters. (Of course, not mainly sentimentally!)
We, of all people, are to rid ourselves of obstacles to not receiving the Bible. These obstacles are mainly faulty dispositions and deeds toward people: malice, slander, envy, etc. Freeing ourselves of these obstacles, we are nurtured and built up by the Word of God.
We, of all people, are to put aside drifting and slothfulness and maintain diligent, purposeful lives. Six days of the week we wake up in the morning to work.
We, of all people, are to live quietly under God-given authority. We should be known, not for our stridency, but for (again, quietly) promoting the general welfare.
We, of all people, are not living to please ourselves or to indulge desires that are tied to the order that is passing away, but we seek the will of God and do it.
We know, and it is our great hope, that Jesus will return to the earth—bodily and publicly. He will establish His kingdom here, and all nations will acknowledge Him as King. He will execute judgment on the ungodly that have ignored what God did in Jesus Christ. And Jesus will vindicate the work and suffering of his people and bring them into His glory.
We believe that at His appearing Jesus will change our—His followers'—faulty bodies into those like His glorious body.
We too believe in a final decision, when the righteous will be given an eternal dwelling with God and the unrighteous will suffer eternal physical punishment.