We believe and confess that Jesus Christ is at work in the world making for Himself a people, which is the Church. The invisible or universal Church consists of all those who have ever, do now, or will ever be joined to Christ in faith. The Church is the bride of Christ, her Head, who gave Himself up for her salvation, with whom she is eternally united and without whom she can do nothing. She is the pillar and ground of the truth who will remain until the end of the age and against whom not even the gates of hell will prevail.
The invisible or universal Church finds expression in the visible or local Church, which is where the saints, the company of those who profess true religion, are gathered and perfected, being united together in a bond of love and a common faith to serve one another with the gifts granted unto them by the Spirit of Christ. An indelible mark of the true Church of Christ is the pure and faithful proclamation of the holy gospel, which issues forth an obedient community of constant prayer and worship shaped by the Word. It is a duty incumbent upon everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus to unite with a faithful congregation of saints, to involve themselves in its life, and to join with them in worshiping and serving the Lord in their generation. Christ has granted unto the visible Church the power to discipline those joined to it, promising His presence to those who seek to establish and maintain its purity, which, in this age, will ever remain mixed, with true believers alongside false professors, who, on the day of judgment, will finally be separated by Christ.
The Lord Jesus has bestowed two offices upon His Church: elder and deacon. Elders are a gift unto the Church for spiritual leadership and direction, under the guiding authority of Christ, while deacons are His gift for service, those elected to the office of deacon being, as it were, the leaders in serving the faithful.
Our Lord has entrusted two solemn ordinances to His Church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the initiatory rite of the Christian Church, administered in the name of the Triune God as a sign of God’s promise and grace as well as a symbol of our identification with Christ. The Lord’s Supper is the continuing rite of the Church, administered only to those who profess faith in Christ, whereby we unite together to remember our Lord’s work on the cross and proclaim His death until He comes. Neither ordinance confers the grace of salvation, nor is either ordinance necessary for the saving knowledge of Christ.