We have no creed but the Bible; but we hold to certain well-defined points of faith, for which we feel prepared to give a reason "to every man that asketh" us. The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principal features of our religious faith, upon which there is, so far as is known, we have entire unanimity.
15. That the Scriptures insist upon plainness and modesty of attire as a prominent mark of discipleship in those who profess to be the followers of Him who was "meek and lowly in heart; "that the wearing of gold, pearls, and costly array, or anything designed merely to adorn the person and foster the pride of the natural heart, is to be discarded, according to such scriptures as 1 Timothy 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4.
16. That means for the support of evangelical work among men should be contributed from love to God and love of souls, not raised by church lotteries, or occasions designed to contribute to the fun-loving, appetite-indulging propensities of the sinner, such as fairs, festivals, crazy socials, etc., which are a disgrace to the professed church of Christ; that the proportion of one's income required in former dispensations can be no less under the gospel; that it is the same as Abraham (whose children we are, if we are Christ's. Galatians 3:29) when he gave him a tenth of all (Hebrews 7:1-4); the tithe is the Lord's (Leviticus 27:30); and this tenth of one's income is also to be supplemented by offerings from those who are able, for the support of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 9:6; Malachi 3:8, 10.
17. That as the natural or carnal heart is at enmity with God and his law, this enmity can be subdued only by a radical transformation of the affections, the exchange of unholy for holy principles; that this transformation follows repentance and faith, is the special work of the Holy Spirit, and constitutes regeneration, or conversion.
18. That all have violated the law of God, and can not of themselves render obedience to his just requirements, we are dependent on Christ, first for justification from our past offenses, and secondly, for grace whereby to render acceptable obedience to his holy law in time to come.
19. That the Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4; that these gifts are not designed to supersede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place of the Holy Spirit; that, in specifying the various channels of its operations, that Spirit has simply made provision for its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince of sin, and to work a transformation in the heart and life; and that those who deny to the Spirit its place and operation, do plainly deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position.
20. That God, in accordance with his uniform dealings with the race, sends forth a proclamation of the approach of the second advent of Christ; and that this work is symbolized by the three messages of Revelation 14, the last one bringing to view the work of reform on the law of God, that his people may acquire a complete readiness for that event.
21. That the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary (see proposition 10), synchronizing with the time of the proclamation of the third message (Revelation 14:9, 10), is a time of investigative judgment, first, with reference to the dead, and secondly, at the close of probation, with reference to the living, to determine who of the myriad's now sleeping in the dust of the earth are worthy of a part in the first resurrection, and who of its living multitudes are worthy of translation, - points which must be determined before the Lord appears.
22. That the grave, whither we all tend, expressed by the Hebrew word "sheol" and the Greek word "Hades," is a place, or condition, in which there is no work, device, wisdom, nor knowledge, Ecclesiastes 9:10.
23. That the state to which we are reduced by death is one of silence, inactivity, and entire unconsciousness. Psalms 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; Daniel 12:2.
24. That out of this prison-house of the grave, mankind are to be brought by a bodily resurrection, the righteous having part in the first resurrection, which takes place at the second coming of Christ; the wicked in the second resurrection, which takes place in a thousand years thereafter. Revelation 20:4, 6.
25. That at the last trump, the living righteous are to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and that the risen righteous are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, so forever to be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52.
26. That these immortalized ones are then taken to heaven, to the New Jerusalem, the Father's house, in which there are many mansions (John 14:1-3), where they reign with Christ a thousand years, judging the world and fallen angels, that is, apportioning the punishment to be executed upon them at the close of the one thousand years (Revelation 20:4; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3); that during this time the earth lies in a desolate, chaotic condition (Jeremiah 4:23-27), as in the beginning, by the Greek term "abussos" (bottomless pit, Septuagint of Genesis 1:2); and that here Satan is confined during the thousand years (Revelation 20:1, 2), and here finally destroyed (Revelation 20:10; Malachi 4:1); the theater of the ruin he has wrought in the universe being appropriately made for a time his gloomy prison-house, and then the place of his final execution.
27. That at the end of the thousand years the Lord descends with his people and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), the wicked dead are raised, and come up on the surface of the yet unrenewed earth, and gather about the city, the camp of the saints (Revelation 20, 9), and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. They are then consumed, root and branch (Malachi 4:1), becoming as though they had not been (Obadiah 15, 16). In this everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:9), the wicked meet the "everlasting punishment" threatened against them (Matthew 25:46), which is everlasting death. Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:14, 15. This is the perdition of ungodly men, the fire which consumes them being the fire for which "the heavens and earth, which are now, . . . are kept in store," which shall melt even the elements with its intensity, and purge the earth from the deepest stains of the curse of sin. 2 Peter 3:7-12.
28. That new heavens and a new earth shall spring by the power of God from the ashes of the old, and this renewed earth with the New Jerusalem for it's metropolis and capital shall be the eternal inheritance of the saints, the place where the righteous shall evermore dwell. 2 Peter 3:13; Psalms 37, 11, 29; Matthew 5:5.