Although some doctrines in a church’s statement of faith are preeminent and essential to salvation, others are not. This in no way implies that doctrines which are non-essential to salvation are insignificant; it indicates they are secondary to the fundamentals of the faith.
Countryside’s statement of faith contains two sections: the essential doctrines of the faith believed by our church members and the non-essential distinctive doctrines taught by our church.
- Section 1: Essential Doctrines of the Faith
- Section 2: Distinctive Doctrines of the Church
Section 1: Essential Doctrines of the Faith
Countryside will not participate with churches or organizations which do not affirm the essential doctrines of the faith.
A. The Doctrine of the Holy Scriptures
We believe that the entirety of the Bible is fully inspired in every word and equally inspired in all parts as originally written. We believe that God communicated His Word through Spirit-controlled men so that the Scriptures are without error or contradiction and are therefore authoritative in all they teach. We believe the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament constitute the completed canon of Scripture, are the only absolute authority for Christian faith and practice, and are sufficient for life and godliness.
2 Tim 3:16; Acts 1:16; Psa 119:160; John 14:26; 2 Pet 1:20-21; Psa 119:140; John 17:17; Pro 30:5-6; Rev 22:18-19; Matt 4:4; Psa 19:7-14; 2 Pet 1:3
B. The Doctrine of the Triune God
We believe in one true God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, eternally existing in three distinct yet fully divine persons. In the unity of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Spirit are one in essence, are equal in power and glory, execute distinct yet harmonious functions, and are therefore equally deserving of worship and obedience. We believe that God is self-existent, infinite, unchangeable, and perfect in all His attributes.
Deut 6:4; Isa 45:5-7; 1 Cor 8:4; Gen 1:1; Exo 3:14; John 1:1; Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; Rom 11:33-36; Mal 3:6; Rom 1:20; Jer 10:10
1. God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit who is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. He is fully omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. We believe that God the Father orders and accomplishes all things according to His own will and for His own glory as the absolute sovereign ruler over His creation but does not author or approve of sin. As Creator, He is Father to all people, having created them in His image, but is spiritual Father only to believers, saving from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
Psa 145:8-9; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; 1 Chr 29:11; Hab 1:13; John 4:24; Isa 5:15-16; Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8; Titus 1:2; Psa 139:1-6; Psa 139:7; Eph 1:11; Rom 16:25-27; Psa 103:19; Rom 11:36; Gen 1:1-31; Eph 3:9; Eph 3:14-19; Rom 8:14; 2 Cor 6:18; John 8:38-47
2. God the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ is the coequal and coeternal second person in the Godhead who was involved in creation with the Father and the Holy Spirit. We believe that He willingly took upon Himself human flesh through the miracle of the virgin birth and now has two natures inseparably united in one divine person without confusion, mixture, separation, or division. We believe that Jesus lived a sinless life in perfect and complete obedience to the Father, willingly died a substitutionary death for sinful man, was buried, and rose bodily the third day. We believe that Jesus ascended to Heaven where He now sits at the Father’s right hand and serves as the only Mediator between God and man. We believe that Jesus will personally return to the earth in power and glory.
John 1:1-3; John 10:30; John 14:10; Col 1:15-17; John 1:14; Matt 1:20-25; Isa 7:13-14; Phil 2:5-8; Heb 4:15; 1 Cor 15:3-4; Rom 5:6; I Pet 2:4; Act 1:9; Heb 9:24; 1 John 2:1; Rev 20
3. God the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the eternal third person in the Godhead who is equal to and one with the Father and the Son. We believe the Holy Spirit was involved in creation, is the author of Scripture, and the agent of the new birth. We believe that every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion, is baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, and is sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption. We believe the Holy Spirit sanctifies believers by directing, empowering, interceding, and enabling them with spiritual gifts to edify the church.
Gen 1:2; John 14:15-17; Matt 28:19; John 14:26; John 16:8-11; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Cor 6:19; 1 Cor 12:13; Rom 8:13-17; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27; Acts 1:8; Eph 1:13-14; Rom 12:6-8; Rom 8:26; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:18; 1 Cor 12:4-6
C. The Doctrine of Salvation
We believe that salvation is the work of God in which He rescues and redeems sinners from their eternal fate as children of wrath and grants them eternal life as His own beloved children. We believe that mankind was directly and immediately created by God in His image, free of sin and therefore able to glorify God, enjoy His fellowship, and accomplish His purpose in the world. However, through disobedience to the revealed will of God, the first man Adam incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death and became subject to the wrath of God. We believe Adam’s sin is transmitted to all men of all ages, rendering all people guilty and hopelessly lost. We believe salvation is accomplished by God’s grace through the finished, redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross, in which He satisfied the Father’s wrath against sin by paying its penalty in full. We believe that salvation includes regeneration, which is the instantaneous and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which spiritual life is given, and justification, which is the act of God by which He declares righteous all who, through faith in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. We believe that salvation includes forgiveness of all past, present, and future sins and that all who are redeemed possess eternal life and are secure in Christ, forever kept by God’s power. We believe the message of salvation is communicated through the Gospel which is the good news that God, through the perfect life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, rescues sinners from eternal judgment and gives them peace with Him forever for the glory of His name.
Eph 2:1-3; Eph 1:7; John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5; 1 Cor 12:3; 1 Pet 1:3-5; Isa 43:7; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11; 1 John 1:8; Titus 3:3; Rom 3:10; Gen 2:16-17; Gen 3:1-19; Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23; 1 Tim 2:13-14; John 3:36; John 1:12; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 3:26; Rom 1:16-17; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Col 2:13-14; John 5:24; John 6:37-40; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Rom 2:4; 2 Cor 7:10; 2 Cor 4:5; Rom 10:8-10; Phil 2:11; John 10:27-30; Rom 5:9-10; Rom 8:1; Rom 8:31-39; Eph 4:30; Heb 7:25; Heb 13:5; Jude 24-25
Section 2: Distinctive Doctrines of the Church
We teach that the six-day account of creation in Genesis is to be accepted literally and not allegorically or figuratively. We teach that the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created directly by God in His image and did not develop from lower to higher forms. We teach that all living creatures were made directly by God according to their kinds and were not produced by an evolutionary process.
Gen 1:1; Exo 20:11; Acts 4:24; Heb 11:3; John 1:3; Rev 10:6; Rom 1:20; Acts 17:23-26; Col 1:16-17; Gen 2:7, 21-23; Gen 1:11; Gen 1:24
B. Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality
We teach that God designed specific gender distinctions between men and women and that these distinctions are set at birth. Therefore, changing or disguising one’s gender transgresses God’s design. We teach that marriage was instituted by God as an exclusive, lifelong, covenantal union between one man and one woman. We teach that God designed sexual intimacy to be reserved for marriage and that any form of sexual intimacy outside the marriage relationship is sinful and offensive to God.
Matt 19:4; Rom 1:21-27; Num 23:19; Psa 145:17; Isa 46:9-10; Gen 2:24; Matt 15:19; Mark 10:7; 1 Cor 6:9-20; Eph 5:31; Heb 13:4
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates and saves. We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and believe and that all men, including the elect, are lost until they individually and personally exercise saving faith in Jesus Christ. We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative on their own part or to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will but is solely of God’s sovereign grace and mercy. We teach that God exercises His sovereignty in election in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love, performing His will in a manner consistent with His character as God. We teach that election does not minimize a believer’s responsibility to evangelize or pray for the salvation of others but rather encourages it.
John 3:1-8; Rom 8:28-30; Eph 1:4-11; 2 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 2:10; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 11:18; Rom 2:4; 2 Cor 7:10; Isa 55:6-7; Eze 18:32; 33:11; John 5:36-45; 1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor 4:5; Col 2:6; John 3:14-19; John 3:36; Acts 16:30-31; Rom 10:8-10; Rom 9:10-18; Titus 3:4-7; Rom 11:33-36; Matt 11:25-28; 2 Tim 1:9; Rom 10:14
D. The Church
We teach that, at salvation, believers in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body called the Church over which Christ is head. The Church was established by Jesus Christ and is composed of all believers in Christ called out of the world between the Day of Pentecost and Christ’s future coming for His Bride. We teach that the local church is comprised of baptized believers associated together by the fellowship of the Gospel for worship and ministry. We teach that the designated officers serving under Christ in the local church are elders (also called overseers and pastors) and deacons, whose qualifications and duties are defined by Scripture. We teach that each local church is free to govern itself without any external authority, control, or interference from any individual or organization. We teach that the two ordinances of the church are baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper, both of which are intended only for believers. We teach that the mission of the church is to glorify God as disciples of Christ making disciples for Christ, which includes ministries of evangelism, biblical instruction, and fellowship.
1 Cor 12:12-13; Col 1:18; Matt 16:18; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:47; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 John 1:3; Eph 2:19-22; 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Cor 11:3; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:24; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11-16; 1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-5; Acts 2:41-42; Matt 28:19-20; 1 Cor 11:23-24; 2 Tim 2:2; 2 Tim 2:15-17
We teach that sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in every believer to set him apart from sin, to produce spiritual maturity in his life, and to make him more like Jesus Christ. We teach that this work takes place initially at salvation as believers are set apart from sin positionally, continues throughout salvation as believers are set apart from sin practically, and is a necessary evidence of true conversion. While eradication of sin in the believer is not possible in this life, the Holy Spirit does enable victory over sin. We teach, that through obedience to the Scriptures and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, believers are not to live unto themselves but to live set apart unto Jesus Christ for the glory of God.
1 Cor 1:2; 1 Cor 1:30; 1 Cor 6:11; John 17:17; John 17:19; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; Heb 2:11; Heb 10:10; Heb 10:14; Heb 13:12; 2 Cor 3:18; 1 Thess 4:3-4; Acts 20:32; 1 Pet 1:2; Gal 5:16-25; Eph 4:22-24; Phil 3:12; Col 3:9-10; 1 Pet 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9; 2 Thess 1:11-12; Rom 6:1-22; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Cor 5:9-13
F. Spiritual Gifts
We teach that spiritual gifts are God-given capacities for service that every believer receives at salvation to edify the church for the glory of God. These gifts include both temporary sign gifts (gifts of miracles, healings, tongues, and interpretation of tongues) and permanent speaking and serving gifts (gifts of teaching, prophecy, exhortation, utterance of knowledge, utterance of wisdom, ministry, giving, administration, mercy, faith, and discernment). We teach that during the apostolic era, sign gifts were given to confirm the authenticity of the apostles’ message during the formation of the church. With the passing of the apostolic era, the establishment of the church, and the completion of the Scriptures, the miraculous sign gifts are no longer necessary. Scripture alone now functions as the sole test of authenticity of a man’s message.
1 Pet 4:10-11; 1 Cor 12:1-7; 1 Cor 12:11; Rom 12:6-8; Eph 4:7-12; Heb 2:4; 2 Cor 12:12; Acts 19:11-12; Eph 2:20; 1 Cor 14:22
We teach that angels are immortal spirit-beings who exist for God’s purposes and are ministering spirits who have great, but limited, power. We teach that God created all angels good, but His anointed cherub Lucifer and his followers rebelled against God. Satan, who was once Lucifer, is the god of this age and the author of sin. He was defeated by Christ on the cross and is destined to eternal condemnation in the Lake of Fire along with all of his followers. We teach that Satan’s power, although great, is incomparably inferior to God’s power and that he can be resisted by Christians.
2 Kings 6:8-23; 2 Kings 19:35; Dan 8:15-18; Matt 22:29-30; Luke 2:9-14; Luke 22:41-43; Heb 1:6-7; Eze 28:11-19; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6; Isa 14:12-15; 2 Cor 4:4; Heb 2:14; James 2:19; Matt 25:41; Eph 6:11-12; James 4:7; Rev 20:10
H. Last Things
We teach that, for every person at death, there is a separation of soul and body and that the soul remains conscious. Believers at death immediately experience conscious blessing with Christ in Heaven, and unbelievers immediately experience conscious punishment apart from Christ in Hell. We teach the imminent, personal appearance of Jesus Christ to catch away His Church prior to a seven-year tribulation on earth. This appearance of Jesus Christ initiates the resurrection of believers in which the soul and body of every believer from the Church Age will be reunited and glorified in Christ and will appear before Him to be rewarded for their work. We teach that, at the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will physically return with His saints to establish His Kingdom on earth for one thousand years, which will fulfill God’s promise to restore Israel to the land they forfeited through disobedience. We teach that, after the thousand-year reign of Christ, the soul of every unbeliever will be reunited with their resurrected body and will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment, after which they shall be cast into the Lake of Fire forever. The elements of creation will then be dissolved and replaced with a new heaven and earth unaffected by sin, and Jesus will deliver the Kingdom to the Father and will reign forever. All who have been redeemed will live eternally with Him.
John 3:16; Phil 1:21-24; Rev 6:9-11; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor 5:5-8; Luke 16:19-31; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Phil 3:21; 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Thess 2:1-2; Titus 2:13; Matt 25:31; 2 Thess 1:6-12; Rev 20:1-7; Isa 65:17-25; Eze 37:21-28; Zech 8:1-17; Deut 28:28-68; Matt 25:46; Rev 20:12-15; Rev 21:1-27; Rev 22:1-21; 2 Pet 3:10; 1 Cor 15:28