What We Believe
We feel it is helpful to distinguish between “essential / core” beliefs and “important but non-essential” beliefs, or what the apostle Paul called “disputable matters” in Romans 14:1. Essential beliefs are those essential to salvation, that Christians have held to be true from the Scriptures since the beginning of the Church. Essential beliefs provide the framework for unity with believers in all times and places, as it is worked in us by the Holy Spirit. All other beliefs—while important and worthy of study, and deep personal conviction—is not essential to our identity as Christians and ought not bring about division in the Body of Christ. Here is what we affirm as essential beliefs flowing from Scripture:
GOD: We believe in the one, true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6), the loving Creator and Sustainer of all things, who eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:10-12). We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became incarnate (John 1:1-4, 14), taking on a fully human nature while also fully retaining his nature as God; That Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, but who overcame and lived a perfectly sinless life (Hebrews 4:14-15); Who willingly died as the only perfect sacrifice for sin (Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 9:24-28); Who rose again from the dead (Luke 24:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:14), and ascended to heaven (Acts 1:1-11) where he now reigns at the Father's right hand (1 Peter 3:21-22). We believe the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:15-17), the Counselor and Comforter (John 14:25-27) who works the life of Jesus into the lives of believers (John 16:12-15), empowering them with gifts of the Spirit as he determines (1 Corinthians 12:11), and transforming heart, soul, mind, and strength into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
SCRIPTURE: We believe the Bible was written by ordinary human beings who were supernaturally “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21) as they wrote, producing the "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16), inspired Word of God that reveals Jesus Christ (John 5:37-40; Luke 24:27), such that the Bible we now have is the “completely reliable message” (2 Peter 1:19) of God to us that is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We look to God’s Word in order to know Him and live in Him for God's glory and our very best (Luke 6:47-48; Luke 9:26; John 5:24-26; John 8:51). We look to God’s Word in order to know Him and please Him by loving because He first loved us.
SALVATION: We believe Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father for eternal life except through him (John 14:6), for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12). We believe we are saved by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, through the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, and not by any self-righteous works or moral effort to justify ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). We believe the Church is the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12) with Jesus Christ as the only true Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18). We believe that everyone who repents, believes, and follows Jesus is made a part of the Body by the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). We believe the Holy Spirit works different kinds of gifts through each believer (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) so that, together, the Church may do loving works of service (Ephesians 4:12) and reveal God’s good news to all people (Ephesians 3:10-11; Romans 1:1-6; Matthew 28:18-20). We believe God will bring about perfect justice on the day of Final Judgment, whereby all are held accountable for what we do, especially in response to the grace of God offered through Christ, and where all wrongs and losses are made right (Revelation 20:11-15). We believe the Bible identifies “salvation” not as a place of escape, but as a new way of life formed by God, and that in the end God will reclaim all creation and make a new heaven and new earth out of the old, where the dwelling place of God will then be with redeemed humanity (Revelation 21:1-5).
- Love—behind every activity our motivation must be love so we avoid doing the right things for the wrong reasons (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
- People—regardless of their economic, spiritual or social situation, people are more important than programs or projects (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
- Transformation—emphasizing church health as well as church growth, where changed lives matter more than counting heads for attendance (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 6:15)
- Creative excellence with integrity—the quest to do our best can never be separated from who we are becoming; talent must be matched with character that reflects Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:7)
- Equipping—giving leaders what they need to succeed rather than being consumed by the ministry structure, procedures, or process (Ephesians 4:11-13)
- Generosity—remembering it all belongs to God, and being good stewards of everything God entrusts to us (2 Corinthians 9:6-11)
- Transparency—both corporately and individually, we believe authenticity that reveals our struggles, failures, and hurts puts us in position to experience God’s strength, forgiveness, and healing (2 Corinthians 12:5-10)
- Servant-leadership—we lead as servants rather than serve as leaders, rejecting the world’s desire for power and the manipulative ways people seek to attain it (Mark 10:35-45)
- Truth AND Grace—a firm commitment to God’s holy character and standards revealed in the Bible, but humbly and lovingly expressed as we affirm we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy (John 1:14; 1 Peter 3:15-16)
- Jesus—Jesus gets all the credit, for it is His Church, and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5; Romans 11:36)