We believe and teach that man is a direct product of the creative handiwork of God (Genesis 2:7). God created mankind in and according to His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), and even after the fall, no matter how thoroughly distorted that image has become, it is not eradicated (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9).
The reality of the image and likeness of God indicates that man, via his original creation, resembles God in certain characteristics and capacities which are necessary for relationships with God and fellow man and also for mankind’s exercise of dominion over the rest of the earth. The grace of God in salvation, sanctification, and glorification focuses on the renewing of this image until it is finally perfect and eternally established (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Both male and female equally bear the image of God. Although they share the same essence of being, there are nevertheless functional distinctions and subordinations (cf. a similar phenomenon within the Trinity). These differences, biblically based upon creation and not cultural biases, are significant for both our families and our flock (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:22-33; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6).
We believe and teach that through Adam’s one act of disobedience, he not only fell from his estate of innocence into one of separation and alienation from God, but as our representative, he also plunged the whole race into sin and death (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21). Consequently, all persons from their conception and birth are spiritually estranged from God (Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21), innately unholy, and stand condemned by their sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1,3) and their sinful acts (Romans 1:18-3:20) before their Creator and Judge.
Man’s depravity (his corrupted sinful nature), is total in breadth (1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 1:2-6; 53:6; Romans 3:9-20) and depth (Ecclesiastes 9:3b; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:14-23). Sin, like a drop of poison deposited in a cup of water, has poisoned the entire cup. By this we mean that all the faculties of man’s heart, i.e., rational, volitional, emotional, etc., are morally tainted by sin and perversity (Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ephesians 4:17-19) leaving mankind utterly hopeless and helpless in reference to any kind of human reformation or rescue – he cannot save himself (Isaiah 64:5-7; Jeremiah 13:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 1:21-22). These realities are not only crucial for an accurate theology but also for a biblically acceptable methodology for ministry (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).