“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” This much quoted saying seems to strike the right balance regarding Christian doctrine. There will always be peripheral beliefs upon which committed Christ followers disagree, and we welcome dialogue on many of these important doctrinal issues that are not essential for union with Christ. However, we recognize the importance of having a framework around which we relate to one another as a maturing community of believers, and we hold the following essentials to be at the core of who we are and what we believe:
We believe in one God who eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present Creator and sustainer of the heavens and earth. God is not limited by time and space, and no facet of His multi-dimensional character diminishes another. In other words, His mercy and justice, grace and wrath, love and jealousy all work together for good. Our finite human minds cannot always fully understand the attributes of our infinite God.
Jesus, the eternal Son of God, chose to set aside some of His divine prerogatives and through the virgin birth, took on human form. He became truly and fully human without ceasing to be truly and fully divine. He humbly lived a perfect, sinless life, worked miracles and gave us an example to follow. Allowing His own persecution, He innocently suffered to the point of criminal death on a cross in order pay the penalty for our sin. He then bodily rose from the dead to free us to be reconciled to our Creator. Christ paid a debt He did not owe to free us from a debt we could not pay. Now, He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us.
About the Holy Spirit
We are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. The filling of the Holy Spirit is meant to be a continuous experience for us as we submit to His controlling authority and power. The Spirit’s function is to help us grow into Christ-likeness as He guides, comforts, convicts, and seals us as a member of the family of God.
We were created in the image of God to glorify Him, have community with Him and represent Him on earth. However, through a rebellious act of disobedience, we were separated from Him. Now all human beings are born with a sinful nature, willfully “missing the mark” in thought, word and deed, and unable to live up to God’s perfect and holy standard.
The Father sent Jesus to redeem us through an act of substitutionary atonement which culminated in Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. In the simplest terms, Christ died as the sacrifice necessary for our sins, and this gave us the
opportunity, by faith, to trade our sin for His righteousness. Now all who repent of their sinfulness and believe in Jesus Christ are declared right before God on the basis of Christ’s shed blood. This gracious, free gift of reconciliation to God and eternal life with Him cannot be earned, as our good deeds are inadequate and have no part in it.
About Following Christ
When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are freed from the penalty for sin, and there ignites a spiritual transformation often referred to as being “born again.” In a thankful desire to be obedient to God, we then exemplify good works and an earnest desire to grow in holiness. Through assimilation of God’s Word, fervent prayer, and guidance by the Holy Spirit, we mature in our faith and are progressively freed from the power of sin. Some future day, when we are with the Lord in glory, we will be free from the presence of sin.
About the Bible
Comprised of 66 books authored over almost 1600 years by 40 different authors using three languages, the Bible reveals one seamless story: a passionate and personal God on a relentless pursuit to redeem His fallen creation. The Bible is the authoritative and inspired Word of God and is trustworthy and reliable for telling us what to believe and how to live.
About the Church
The church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head of the body. The church is not a building but instead is the community of interdependent individuals who are born again, each having received from the Holy Spirit gifts which are to be exercised for the building up of the whole body. The purpose of the church is to glorify God, make Jesus known to a lost world, train up disciples, and meet the needs of those in our communities and around the world.
About the Sacraments
We celebrate baptism as a new believer’s proclamation of faith and identification with Christ’s death and resurrection. We also celebrate communion as an ongoing remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross and as a reminder of present fellowship with Christ and His body.
About the Future
In the end of all things, Jesus will reign eternally. He will judge His creation according to the character that has been revealed to us through His word with justice and mercy. Those who have found salvation through Jesus Christ will enjoy His presence forever; those who have not will be separated from God for eternity.