What Is Essential to Our Faith in Christ?
How we believe:
1. In the essentials of the Christian faith, we must have unity.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. - Ephesians 4:4-6
2. In the non-essentials of the Christian faith, we embrace diversity.
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. - Romans 14:1-6
3. In all matters of faith, we seek to have love and grace.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
What we believe:
We regard the beliefs listed below as essential to Christian faith and practice. In addition, we affirm the Lausanne Covenant and assert our solidarity with all like-minded churches and organizations.
1. We Believe
that there is One living and true God who eternally exists in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that He has revealed Himself to be perfect in love, holiness and righteousness; that He created all, upholds all and governs all. (Matt. 12:25-27; John 1:1,2, 10:30, 14:26, 15:26)
2. We Believe
that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are given by divine inspiration and are the written Word of God, the final authority for the lives of believers in every culture and age, and the infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the living Lord, who speaks through them in the power of the Holy Spirit. The primary purpose of the Scriptures is to lead to faith in Jesus and salvation in His name. (Ps. 119:89; Is. 40:8; John 5:39,40; II Tim. 3:16,17; Heb. 4:12)
3. We Believe
in God the Father, an infinite personal Spirit, perfect in wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men through His providence and His power, that He hears and answers prayer; that He has created all and is able to recreate all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 19:1; 102:25-27; Mt. 7:11; Eph. 1:3-6)
4. We Believe
in Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, both true God and true man. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, and fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah; we believe in His miracles, teaching, substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, and ascension into heaven, His continual intercession for His people and His personal, visible return to earth. (Mt. 1:20-23; 5:17-18; Rom. 1:4; I Cor. 15:1-17; I Thess. 4:13-18; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:4, 4:15, 7:25, 10:19-20)
5. We Believe
in the Holy Spirit, who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ; we believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding Helper, Teacher, Gift-giver and Guide. We believe that through the indwelling Holy Spirit we can experience a progressive liberation from the bondage of Satan, the world and sin; that He brings a present though partial reality of the Kingdom of God as He acts in and through our lives with sovereign, supernatural power. (Jn. 16:7-15; Acts 1:8, 2:38-39; Rom. 8:5-16; I Co. 12:7-11; II Co. 3:17-18; Gal. 3:2-5; 5:16-25)
6. We Believe
that Man (man and woman) was created in Gods image, was tempted by the devil, and subsequently rebelled against God. Men and women are now fallen in nature, and evidence this condition in sinful deeds. Thus they are sinners by nature and choice and therefore under condemnation. God regenerates those who repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord, declares them righteous (justification), forgives them of their sins, adopts them as His children, baptizes them with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of their future resurrection and inheritance with Christ, incorporates them into His body and empowers them for His service. (Gen. 3:1-13, 16-19; Rom. 5:12-19, 7:14-25, 8:1-4; II Cor. 5:17-18; Gal 4:4-7; Eph. 2:8-10; Jas. 1:18)
7. We Believe
that the believer possesses great Authority through Christ over the powers of spiritual darkness led by
Satan, the ruler of this world. We actively exercise this authority as we pray, do spiritual warfare, walk by faith, exercise spiritual gifts and progress to spiritual maturity in Christ. We believe that Satan and demons are personal, intelligent beings who have been defeated in their rebellion by Christ, who will destroy them eternally when He returns to bring His Kingdom to earth. (Matt.12:28; Luke 9:1-2; II Cor. 4:4,5, 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-17, Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15; I Pet. 5:8-9)
8. We Believe
in the universal Church, the living spiritual Body of which Christ is the Head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the church: Baptism and Communion. Though we practice only believers baptism by immersion, we recognize and respect the variation of practice of these ordinances and affirm the unity of the Body. We believe that Communion should be open to all believers, leaving it to them to determine their own readiness to partake. (Matt. 16:18-19; Luke 22:14-20; Acts 2:38-41; Rom. 6:3,4; I Cor. 11:23-31)
9. We Believe
in the personal, visible Return of Christ to earth to raise the dead, judge the world, consummate His Glorious Kingdom and bestow eternal blessing on the righteous. This is the hope of the church. (Mt. 24:30; Luke 9:1,2; II Cor. 4:4-5, 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-17; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15; II Pet. 3:8-9)
10. We Believe
that all who have been baptized into Jesus Christ by water and Spirit are thereby obligated and enabled to obey Gods word and repent when they sin. Those who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord should pursue a life of obedience and holiness. Those who persist in sin should be warned and, if merited, disciplined. (Mt.18:15-17; I Cor. 10:13; Rom. 6:5-11; I John 3:4-10)