STATEMENT OF FAITH
THE SCRIPTURES: We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written in its sixty-six books was verbally inspired and plenarily inspired, and the product of Spirit-controlled men. We believe it is infallible and inerrant and therefore is truth without any admixture of error in its matter. We believe that the Bible is the final authority for our faith and practice, and that it is the standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
THE TRUE GOD: We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love (Deuteronomy 6:4).
THE TRINITY: We believe that God is One in essence but that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices (Matthew 28:18-19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
GOD THE FATHER: We believe that God the Father is a Person separate from God the Son and God the Spirit, invisible to man in this life. He concerns Himself with the affairs of men, elects and draws men unto salvation, and has a paternal relationship to all believers (Matthew 28:19; 1 Timothy 1:17; Daniel 2:21; 4:17; Matthew 5:45; 1 Peter 1:2; John 6:44; Romans 8:15).
GOD THE SON: We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; that He is One Person possessing two natures and thus is true God and true man; that He lived a sinless life and is incapable of sinning. That He gave Himself as a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men; that He arose bodily from the grave, ascended into heaven where He is seated on the right hand of God interceding for His people. We believe that He will personally come in the air for His Church prior to the Tribulation, and will return with His Church at the close of the Tribulation to establish His millennial kingdom on earth (John 10:30-33; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35; Hebrews 7:26; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Acts 1:11; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-6).
GOD THE SPIRIT: We believe in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, that He is equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same essence; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. That He carries on a work of regenerating, baptizing into the body of Christ, that He is the seal in the sealing of believers, that He indwells, fills, guides, teaches, and sanctifies believers (Acts 5:3-4; John 14:26; John 16:8-11; Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 1:14; Acts 4:31; Ephesians 5:18).
SPIRITUAL GIFTS: We believe that the Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts upon believers. We believe that some of these gifts are permanent for the entire church age and some were temporary. The temporary gifts which are not for this present period of church history are apostles, prophets, tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing and miracles. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to prepare saints to do the work of the ministry and to build up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-12).
CREATION: We believe in the direct creation by God of the physical universe, all spirit beings, man, and lower forms of life, without the process of evolution. We believe that the Genesis account of creation is a literal, historical, and accurate account of the origin of the universe and man. We believe that all three Persons of the Trinity took part in creation, and that God sustains all creation but exists independently of it (Genesis 1 and 2; Colossians 1:15-18).
ANGELS: We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless spirit beings known as angels, that many of these continue in their holy state and are the ministers of God; that Lucifer (now known as Satan or the devil) and many others rebelled against God; that these fallen angels, though defeated at the cross of Christ, still continue to oppose God and His work; that they will ultimately be judged by God and cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer everlasting punishment, which is their righteous due (Colossians 1:16; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Revelation 12:7-9; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41).
MAN: We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; that through uncoerced disobedience Adam fell from his original state, became totally depraved in nature, was separated from God and came under condemnation and the sentence of death; that because of the unity of the human race and the natural headship of Adam, all men (Jesus Christ, only excepted) are born with sin natures and have come under the consequences of sin (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12).
SALVATION: We believe that salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ, Who paid the full redemptive price, completely satisfied God's righteous demands by suffering the death penalty for man's guilt and imputed to man His righteousness, reconciling him to God. We believe that salvation is made effective to man only upon his exercise of personal faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process. We believe that the evidence of salvation appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life in Christ (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 5:1; John 3:6-7; Acts 16:30-33; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:12).
SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER: We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, John 10:28-29; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Peter 1:5).
SANCTIFICATION: We believe that Scripture teaches four aspects of sanctification. Preparatory sanctification is that work of the Holy Spirit wherein He moves in a special, sovereign way in the life of an unbeliever, the result of which is that the person believes the gospel and trusts in Christ for salvation. Positional sanctification is that act of God whereby believers are, at the time of regeneration eternally set apart as belonging to God. Progressive sanctification is the process by which we are made partakers of His holiness; it progresses as the believer is yielded to the Spirit's control; it is carried on in the life of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, self-examination, watchfulness, and prayer. Ultimate sanctification will be realized when every believer is in the presence of the Lord, with redeemed soul and glorified body united, free from every trace of sin and rebellion (1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 6:44; 1 John 3:1; Romans 8:14-17; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 10:10-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Proverbs 4:18; 1 John 2:29; Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 5:18, 6:18; Galatians 5:16-24; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 15:52-53; Ephesians 4:30, 5:27; 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Peter 1:9).
DISPENSATIONS: We believe that the dispensations are not ways of salvation, which has always been by grace through faith, but are stewardships by which God administers His purpose on earth through man under varying responsibilities. We believe that God's program and purposes for Israel and His program and purposes for the Church are separate and not to be intermingled or confused.
THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH: We believe in the unity of all true believers in the Church, which is the Body of Christ; that it was established on the Day of Pentecost, and will be completed at the Rapture; and that all believers of this church age are added to this Church by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:22-32; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
THE LOCAL CHURCH: We believe that a local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the spiritual gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word. We believe that its officers are the pastor and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe that the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is Scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; and that on all matters of membership , of polity, of government of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final (Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24; Ephesians 4:11; Acts 20:17-28; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 15:13-15; Matthew 18:17; 2 Corinthians 2:6; 8:1-2).
THE ORDINANCES: We believe that Christ left the Church two ordinances, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior; that baptism must come after salvation; and that it is a prerequisite to the privilege of church membership. We believe that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration of Christ's death until He comes, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. We believe any born-again church member in fellowship with Christ may partake in communion (Acts 8:36; 38-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28).
CIVIL GOVERNMENT: We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed; except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the only Lord of conscience, and the coming King of the earth (Romans 13:1-7; 2 Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21-22; Acts 23:5; Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19; Daniel 3:17-18).
THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED: We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting happiness of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost (Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17,18; 1 John 5:19; Romans 7:6; Romans 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34-41; John 8:21).
THINGS TO COME: We believe that the Scriptures foretell certain events among which are the following: Rapture of the Church. We believe that Jesus Christ will return to the atmosphere of this earth; that the dead in Christ will rise first, then believers who are still living will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and to ever be with the Lord; that the rapture is the next event on the revealed calendar and that no prophecy need be fulfilled before this occurs. We believe the rapture will occur before the tribulation. (1Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 5:9). Tribulation. We believe that following the rapture there will be a time of tribulation on the earth known as the seventh week of Daniel; that though there will be salvation during this period, it will be a time when the antichrist will be manifested, and that there will be great judgments from God. The later part of this period is known as the Great Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24; Revelation 5-19). Second Coming. We believe that following the tribulation Christ will return to the earth with His glorified saints to establish the millennial kingdom; that during the 1,000 years of peace and prosperity Satan will be bound and Christ will reign with a rod of iron; that at the end of the millennium Satan will be released for a short time, deceive many and lead them in final rebellion, but be put down with his armies by God (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; James 5:8; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 20:7-10). Eternal State. We believe that the unsaved men of all ages will be resurrected and together with the evil angels will be finally judged and condemned to everlasting conscious punishment in hell; that all saved of all ages in glorified bodies will enjoy everlasting blessing in the presence of God (Revelation 20:11-15).
THE FAMILY: We believe the family is the first institution established by God. We believe that God's pattern is monogamy, and that polygamy and homosexuality are contrary to the will of God. We believe in the sanctity of life. We hold that all life is a gift from God. We believe that human life begins at conception, that the unborn is a living soul, and that all human life is sacred. We believe that no human being has the right to take another human being's life either at the beginning [abortion] or at the end of that individual's existence [euthanasia] (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-25; Romans 1:26-27; Jeremiah 1:5).
SEPARATION: Because we see the importance of fellowshipping with churches whose beliefs are the same as ours, Maranatha is currently a member of the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches (IARBC) and of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC). It is our conviction that the Bible teaches both personal separation unto God from worldliness, whether in personal actions, attitudes, or thoughts, and separation as a local church from religious organizations and programs which do not adhere to sound biblical teaching.