The Holy Scriptures
Wellington accepts, acknowledges and teaches the Bible as God’s divine revelation to man (1Cor. 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20, 21), verbally inspired in every word (2Tim. 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. The Holy Spirit overshadowed the human authors that through their individual personalities and different styles of writing they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Pet. 1:20, 21) without error (Mt. 5:18; 2Tim. 3:16).
While there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is found by diligently applying the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John17; 16:12-15; 1Cor 2:7-15; 1John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. The truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
The Bible constitutes the infallible rule of faith and practice for Christians both as individuals and as His church (Mt. 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12, 13; 17:17; 1 Cor 2:13; 2Tim 3:15-17; Heb 4:12; 2Pet. 1:20, 21)
There is but one living and true God (Dt 6:4; Is 45:5-7; 1Cor. 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, and eternally existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19; 2Cor 13:14) equally deserving worship and obedience.
God the Father
God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own holy purpose and grace (Ps 145:8, 9; 1Cor. 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Gen 1:1-31; Eph 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler of the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1Chron. 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab 1:13), nor does He reduce the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1Pet. 1:17). Though He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph. 1:4-6) He saves from sin all who come to Him through Christ’s atoning death at the cross (John 1:12; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5; Heb 12:5-9).
God the Son
Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). God created “the heavens and the earth and all that is in them” according to His own will, through Christ by whom all things continue in existence and in operations (John 1:3; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2). Through the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence. The eternally existing Christ accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and became the God-man (Phil 2:5-8; Col 2:9). Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Mic 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9, 10; Col 2:9). He was virgin born (Is 7:14; Mt. 1:23; 25; Lk 1:26-35) God incarnate (John 1:1, 14). The purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Ps 2:7-9; Is 9:6; John 1:29; Phil 2:9-11; Heb 7:25, 26; 1Pet 1:18-19). In the incarnation, Christ laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, assumed the place of a Son, and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:5-8). Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death at the cross and His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Rom 3:24, 25; 5:8; 1 Pet 2:24).
By the efficacy of the death of Christ, the believing sinner is freed from punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and is declared righteous, given eternal life and adopted into the family of God (Rom 3:25; 5:8,9; 2Cor 5:14, 15; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18). Our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and His ascension to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High-Priest (Mt 28:6; Lk 24:38, 39; Acts 2:30, 31; Rom 4:25; 8:34; Heb 7:25; 9:24; 1John 2:1). Through the resurrection of Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of Christ and gave proof He has accepted His atoning work at the cross. His bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (Jn 5:26-29; 14:19; Rom 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Cor. 15:20, 23). Christ will one day return to receive the church, which is His body, unto Himself and will establish His kingdom (Acts 1:9-11; Rev. 20). Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22, 23): believers (1 Cor 3:10-15; 2Cor 5:10); living inhabitants on the earth at His glorious return (Mt. 25:31-46); and unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Rev 20:11-15). As the mediator between God and man (1Tim 2:5) and the head of His body (the church; Eph. 1:22; 5:23; Col 1:18) He is the final judge of all who reject trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Mt 25:14-46; Acts 17:30, 31).
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is divine, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Cor 2:10-13), emotions (Eph 4:30), will (1Cor 12:11), eternality (Heb 9:14), omnipresence (Ps 139:7-10), omniscience (Is 40:13, 14), omnipotence (Rom15:13), and truthfulness (John 16:13). The work of the Holy Spirit is to execute the divine will in the creation (Gen 1:2), the incarnation (Mt 1:18), the written revelation (2Pet 1:20, 21) and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7).
The unique work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16, 17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the establishment of the church. His activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment; and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Rom 8:29; 2Cor 3:18; Eph 2:22). The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1Cor 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Rom 8:9-11; 2Cor 3:6; Eph 2:22).
The Holy Spirit also administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but glorifies Christ by redeeming the lost and building up believers in holy faith (John 16:13, 14; Acts 1:8; 1Cor 12:4-11; 2cor 3:18). The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that enabled the apostles to speak in other languages and to perform miracles was for the purpose of authenticating them as the revealers of divine truth, and was never intended to be characteristic of all believers (1Cor 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2Cor 12:12; Eph 4:7-12; Heb 2:1-4). With the passing of the apostolic age and the completion of the canon of Scripture there is no longer need for such signs since man can determine today who speaks for God by comparing their teaching with God’s revelation in His word. This does not mean the Lord no longer does miracles in response to the prayers of His people, it just means there is no need for the Holy Spirit to do them through His messengers to publicly validate His word or His work.
Man was created by God in His image and likeness, free of sin with rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Gen 2:7, 15-25; Jas 3:9).
God’s intention in the creation of man was that he should glorify Him, enjoy His fellowship, live within His holy will, and accomplish His divine purposes (Is 43:7; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11).
Through Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of reconciling himself to God apart from divine grace. Man is hopelessly lost, thus his salvation is wholly dependant upon God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gen 2:16, 17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Rom 3:23; 6:23; 1Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1-3; 1Tim 2:13, 14; 1John 1:8).
Salvation is by God’s grace through the merit of Christ’s shed blood and not on the basis of human effort or works (John 1:12; Eph. 1:4-7; 2:8-10; 1Pet 1:1,2).
Salvation is an act of God whereby before the foundation of the world He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Rom 8:28, Eph 1:4-11; 2Thes 2:13; 2Tim 2:10; 1Pet 1:1,2). This sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Eze 18:23, 32; 33:11; Jn 3:18, 19, 36, 5:40; 2Thes 2:10-12; Rev 22:17). All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Lord will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Jas 4:8). While God is sovereign, He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Rom 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the holy will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Mt 11:25-28; 2Tim 1:9).
Regeneration is a supernatural work by which divine nature and divine life are given (Jn 3:3-8; Titus 3:5) to repentant sinners by the power of the Holy Spirit through the use of God’s word (John 5:24), which enables them to respond in faith to the salvation Christ secured for them at the cross. This regeneration is made evident by fruits demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct (1Cor 6:19, 20; Eph 5:17-21; Phil 2:12b; Col 3:12-17; 2Pet 1:4-11). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18) which is climaxed in their glorification at Christ’s return (Rom 8:16, 17; 2Pet 1:4; 1John 3:2, 3).
Justification is an act of God (Rom 8:30, 33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Lk 13:3; Ac 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom 2:4; 2Cor 7:10; Is 55:6,7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Rom 10:9,10; 1Cor 12:3; 2Cor 4:5; Phil 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom 3:20; 4:6) and is the result of Christ’s atoning death at the cross (Col 2:14; 1Pet 2:24) and the imputation of His righteousness to those He has redeemed and reconciled (1Cor 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2Cor 5:21). By this God is the “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).
Every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification which is the maturing of the believer as he brought into the likeness of Christ through obedience to the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:32; 1Cor 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2Thess 2:13; Heb 2:11; 3:1; 10:10,14; 13:12; 1Pet 1:2; John 17:17; Rom 6:1-22; 2Cor 3:18; 1Thess 4:3,4; 5:23).
Every person redeemed by Christ is involved daily in the conflict between their new nature in Christ and the old flesh in which they remain incarcerated. This struggle never completely ends. All claims to the total eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural (Gal 5:16 – 25; Phil 3:12; Col 3:9, 10; 1Pet 1:14-16; 1John 3:5-9).
All those Christ redeems are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom 5:9,10; 8:1,31-39; 1Cor 1:4-9; Eph 4:30; Heb 7:25; 13:5; 1Pet 1:4,5; Jude 24); therefore, we rejoice in the assurance of our salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an excuse for sinful living and carnality (Rom 6:15-22; 13:13,14; Gal 5:13,16,17, 25, 26; Tit 2:11-14).
All who place their faith in Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united body, the church (1Cor 12:12, 13), the bride of Christ (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Rev 19:7, 8), of which Christ is the head (Eph 1:22; 4:15; Col 1:18). The body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost (Ac 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ (1Cor 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Rev 19:7, 8). The church is a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Eph 2:11-3:6) and is distinct from Israel (1 Cor 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Eph 3:1-6; 5:32).
The supreme authority for the church is Christ (Eph 1:22, Col 1:18) and church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in Scripture. Biblically designated male leaders are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teacher; Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11) and deacons, both of whom are to meet biblical qualification (1 Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9; 1Pet 5:1-5). They lead as servants of Christ (1Tim 5:17-22) using the authority of His word for all decisions and the congregation is to follow their leadership (Heb 13:7, 17).
The autonomy of the local church should be free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Tit 1:5). However, it is scriptural for churches to cooperate with one another for the presentation and propagation of the faith (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1Cor 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet 5:1-4).
The purpose of the church is to glorify the Lord (Eph 3:21) by growing in the faith (Eph 4:13-16), throughinstruction in the Word (2Tim 2:2, 15; 3:16,17), fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1John 1:3), proper observance ofthe ordinances (Lk 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and by communicating the good news of God's redemption of fallen man to all the world (Mt 28:19; Acts 1:8).
With regards to the ordinances there are two that have been committed to the local church: baptismand the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42).
One of the ordinances, water baptism, is meant to be an outward expression of an inward reality. Its purpose is to visibly and publicly express what has hopefully taken place invisibly and privately in the life of one who has beenborn again by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10).
Water baptism is meant to identify new Christians with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-10; Colossians 2:12). It outwardly symbolizes the cleansing of sin that has taken place in the life of a believer and their deliverance from sin's just punishment (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:20-21).
Both Christ and the apostles commanded believers to be baptized (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38). For this and other reasons, some have wrongly concluded that water baptism is a necessary step for getting saved. However, scripture is clear that the means of our salvation is the grace of our Lord who saves us through faith in the One who satisfied His just wrath at Calvary, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).
A believer must therefore be immersed into Christ in order to be justified before a holy God; however, we must never replace the substance of baptism (being born again in Christ) with the symbol of water baptism, lest we give false assurance to those who are not true Christians but believe they are saved because of their obedience to a sacrament.
It is important to understand that being immersed into Christ is essential for salvation and while the symbol of that reality does not nor cannot save us, it is still an important ordinance of the church because it is an obedient and visible proclamation of the Christian's redemption.
That is why we hold to credo-baptism through the mode of immersion. Credo-baptism simply refers to the fact that we are only to baptize those who have confessed a genuine faith in Christ as Lord. This is often referred to as a believer’s baptism. The clear pattern of Scripture is that faith in Jesus Christ always preceded baptism (Acts 2:38-41; 8:12; 9:18-19; 10:44-48; 16:14-15, 29-36; 18:8; 19:1-7; 22:16; Galatians 3:27). Therefore we do not hold to the baptism of infants or children who have not first confessed a saving faith in Christ, but would encourage them to receive water baptism after coming to faith.
The other clear pattern of Scripture is that baptism was done by immersion (Acts 8:36-39; Mark 1:15; John 3:22-23; Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10). While some churches have adopted a mode of pouring or sprinkling, water baptism by immersion is clearly the mode taught by Scripture, In the Greek text, the word used for baptize is baptizo which literally means “to immerse” or “to dip”. Because immersion is the normative mode of baptism in Scripture and because it is critical for the Christian to be completely immersed into Christ as a new creation, we hold to water baptism by immersion so that the symbol properly corresponds to the reality.
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He returns, and should always be proceeded by solemn self-examination (1Cor 11:23-32). Though the elements of communion are only representatives of the body and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ who is present, fellowshipping with His people (1Cor 10:16). It is our practice to take the Lord’s Supper weekly because we want Jesus’ death to be the focus of our time together because His death is what makes us acceptable to a holy God.