Articles of Faith
Articles of Faith
1. We believe there is only one living and true God (Deut. 5:4; Jer. 10:10), the Creator of all things, and that in the God-Head there are three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19), and that these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory (John 1:1; Heb. 1:8,10), although distinguished by their personal properties (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
2. We believe the Holy Scriptures contained in the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God (1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) to be the rule of faith and practice (Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11).
3. We believe God made all things for Himself (Prov. 16:4; Isa. 43:7); that known unto Him are all His works from the beginnings (Acts 15:18; Job 36:4); that He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11; Dan 4:35); and that His laws and the principles and administration of His government are perfectly holy and just and good (Ps. 97:2; 89:14; 45:6,7; 99:4).
4. We believe that God created man in His own image, perfectly holy (Gen. 1:26,27; Eccl. 7:29), and that he fell from that happy state by transgressing the divine command (Gen. 2:19; 3:3,6), and in consequence of the first apostasy, all men, previous to regeneration, are destitute of holiness, unreconciled to God, and under condemnation (Rom. 5:12-19:1; Cor. 15:21,22).
5. We believe the Son of God has, by His obedience, sufferings and death, made an adequate atonement for sin (Matt. 26:28; Rom. 8:3), and that all who are saved will be wholly indebted to the sovereign grace of God through His atonement (Eph. 2:5,8; Titus 2:11).
6. We believe that such provision is made in the Gospel, that whoever will, may take of the water of life freely (Rev. 21:6; 22:17; Matt. 11:28), yet, that sinners will not come to Jesus Christ (John 3:19, 5:40; Matt. 22:3,4,6) except they are made willing by the special regenerating influences of the Spirit of God (Ps. 100:3; John 1:13).
7. We believe, that for those who are ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28- 30,33; 11:5,7,28), who alone will believe in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:7), there is no condemnation; but they will be kept by power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Peter 1:5; Rom. 8:1).
8. We believe the qualification of admission into the church of Christ is, in the sight of God, real piety (Acts 8:37; 2:47; 10:47), and in the sight of man apparent piety, and that all who are in regular standing in the church have a right to all the ordinances of His house, and baptism for their children (Luke 22:17-19; Acts 16:15,33).
9. We believe that every church has authority from the Great Head of the church to administer censure upon members who walk disorderly, and that it is not required to refer their decisions to any other earthly tribunal (Matt. 8:15-18; 1 Cor. 5:4,5,7,13).
10. We believe, that secret and family prayer (Matt. 6:6; 14:23; 26:36), reading of the Scriptures (John 5:39; Acts 17:11), a religious observance of the Sabbath (Gen. 2:2,3; Ex. 20:8-11), a punctual attendance of the public worship of God, and such appointments of the church for prayer or conference meetings, as are in accordance with the Scriptures, are important privileges and duties of professed Christians (Heb. 10:25; Acts 20:7), and that a holy life is the best evidence we can give of piety (John 14:15,21,23,24; 15:10.14).
11. We believe that, at the second coming of Christ, there will be a resurrection, both of the just and unjust (Job 19:26; Dan 12:2); when all mankind will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive a just and final retribution, according to the deeds done in the body (Ps. 1:5; 9:7; Matt. 12:36); and that the wicked will then go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal (Matt 25:30,46; 13:49,50; John 5:29).
1. We believe there are two ordinances, also called sacraments, instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, to be practiced by all God’s people until Christ returns: Baptism (Mt 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (Lk 22:19).
2. These ordinances are signs by which the blessings of the new covenant in Jesus Christ are represented and sealed to believers (Rom 4:11). They direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation (Lk 22:19-20; 1Co 11:26; Col 2:12).
1. Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign and seal of the believer’s new birth, his union with Christ, his cleansing from sin, and his commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church and to live a godly life (Ac 2:38; Rom 6:3; Gal 3:27; 1Pe 3:21).
2. As children were considered partakers of the old covenant and circumcised as their fathers, so children are to be considered partakers of the new covenant and baptized as their parents (Gen 17:7; Ac 2:39; Col 2:11-13). Nonetheless, we respect those who believe a profession of faith is prerequisite to baptism, and we will dedicate their children.
3. Baptism is the initiatory rite of the church (Mt 28:19-20) and is to be administered once, either by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling.
(b) The Lord’s Supper
1. The Lord’s Supper is the giving and receiving of bread and wine in corporate worship. It is a sign and seal of the sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood for our salvation, and by it the believer is strengthened in faith, repentance and obedience, and encouraged in love for his Redeemer and for his redeemed brothers and sisters (Lk 22:14-20; John 6:48-51; 1Co 10:16,17).
2. Those who have been baptized, who are trusting in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation, who are humbly repentant of their sins for which Christ died, and who are walking in love with their brothers and sisters in Christ, are to be welcomed to the table. Believers should examine themselves before coming to the table, but not so severely that those of weak faith fail to come for their encouragement and strengthening (1Co 11:23-29).
3. The Lord’s Supper is the continuing rite of the church and is to be practiced regularly and attended with diligence (1Co 11:26).
Confessions and Catechisms
We are in substantial agreement with the following confessions and catechisms, and commend them as instructive, but not binding, on points of doctrine not addressed in this article’s statement of faith:
- The Savoy Declaration of Faith
- The Westminster Confession of Faith
- The Heidelberg Catechism
Final Authority for Matters of Belief and Conduct
These statements of faith and doctrine do not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of the church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, the interpretation of the Bible’s meaning and application by the Pastor(s) and Elders shall stand, unless overruled by the congregation.
Our Philosophy of Ministry
Elder-led: We believe that a biblically-based church is to be led by a plurality of duly qualified, Christ-honoring men called Elders (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 14:23; 20:17; James 5:14). These Elders (which include all ordained Pastors) are the vision-castors and spiritual overseers of the local church.
Staff-equipped: We believe that a biblically-based church is to have at least one ordained Pastor, and that all ministerial staff are not called to a church for the purpose of leading it, but they are called to serve it by equipping the believers for the work of the ministry (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16).
That is, the ministerial staff come alongside of the laity and enable them to identify how God has gifted them for service, while subsequently teaching them how to serve, empowering them to do so.
Team-Driven: As the believers are being equipped for service (cf. Ephesians 4:12), they are encouraged to exercise their gifts and skills in the context of various ministries under the supervision of Ministry Teams (Boards and Committees), which, in turn, are under the oversight of the Elders.
Pastor Dana Smith has been married to his wonderful wife, Kristen, for 26 years, and together they have three boys (Micah, Caleb, & Jude). A graduate with his M.Div. (’99) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA, Dana has over twenty-five years experience in various forms of the ministry, having served churches in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, both as an Associate and Senior Pastor. He also was the Chaplain at Lexington Christian Academy in Lexington, MA. His wife, Kristen (M.Div. ’99, Gordon-Conwell), was a missionary with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Paris, France, and for the past 20 years they have served the Evangelical Church in France in a multitude of ways, albeit on this side of “the pond.”
Dana loves to serve both the local and global Church, seeking to emphasize the teaching of sound, biblical/Reformed teaching/preaching, while concomitantly seeking to instill a missions awareness amongst the people of God whenever and wherever possible. To that end, in conjunction with his local church pastoral service, he has spoken at various missions conferences and retreats, most notably as the plenary youth speaker at the 2010 Chinese Mission Convention in Valley Forge, PA.
Along with being a Pastor, he is a trained actor, having had a semi-successful (by theatre standards) career as an actor in the Philadelphia television and film market. He even starred (or something like that) in one episode of Forensic Files, floating around here and there on the internet. His way of connecting with the local community comes mostly through pick-up soccer, so if you know of a semi-competitive, fun game around, let him know.