1. We Believe Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, born from the Virgin Mary, Died on the Cross, Rose three days later, Appeared to over 500 witnesses in 40 days, and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God and intercede for His followers daily. (I Corinthians 15:1-11)
We believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh (John 1:14). We believe that, as the Son of God, he is co-eternal with God, as John 1:2 says, “He was in the beginning with God.” We do not believe that he was God's first creation; Colossians 1:16 says that all things were created through him and for him, which means that he was present before the first act of creation. We believe that he was born to Mary, a virgin, in accordance with Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:34-38, as prophesied by Isaiah 7:14. We believe that Jesus was fully man (Philippians 2:5-8) and also fully God (Colossians 1:15). We believe that he lived a perfect sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21) and was put to death on a cross (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19, Philippians 2:8, Colossians 1:20, Hebrews 12:2, etc). God raised him from the dead (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20) and he went on to appear to his disciples and over 500 other eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:6) over the course of 40 days. After this, he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10-11). Today he serves as our high priest (Hebrews 4-7), which is the reason the Christian church does not practice any kind of hierarchy or priesthood. As our high priest, he remains at the right hand of God (Acts 7:36, Romans 8:34), where his function is to intercede with God on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25), which means that when we pray in his name (John 14:13), he presents our requests to God as if they were his own.
2. We Believe in the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Christ the Son and Their Holy Spirit.
We believe in one God, who exists eternally as three Persons, described in the Bible as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As early as Genesis 1 we see an indication that God is plural. Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us create man in our own image, after our own likeness.” God refers to himself as “us.” Also in the Old Testament, Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 6) quotes God as saying: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” In consecutive sentences, he calls himself “I” – he is one God, not three – and also “us” – he is plural. In the New Testament, John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So we see that Jesus is God, but that somehow, even though he is God, he is also “with” God. The same chapter says that Jesus' disciples saw him, but that no one has ever seen God (1:18). So somehow, even though Jesus is God, there is a difference between seeing him and seeing God.
We believe that the Father, Son, and Spirit have existed coeternally: Genesis 1 says that God's Spirit existed “in the beginning,” before the first act of creation; John 1 says the same about the Son. Father, Son, and Spirit all appeared together at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16). Furthermore, we see a hierarchy within Trinity. The Father is the one who has a will; the Son has no will of his own, but exists to do the Father's will (John 4:34). Jesus also says that he was sent (John 5:23-30, 6:29, 7:16) by the Father. Regarding the Holy Spirit, Jesus said that he would ask the Father, and the Father would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). Thus we can see that Trinity is taught and affirmed by Scripture.
From a purely philosophical point of view, as well, we agree that God is love. The doctrine of Trinity explains how this is possible: before anything else was created, God existed eternally as Father, Son, and Spirit, enjoying perfect love and perfect community within himself. If there was no Trinity, then what did he love before anything else was created?
3. We Believe that the Holy Word of God is True & written by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit through His chosen People.
The Bible claims, “All Scripture is breathed out by God [inspired], and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter explains the process this way: “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” So we see that Scripture was breathed out or inspired by God, whose Holy Spirit guided the human authors as they wrote. We can see simply by reading the Bible that the author and the Spirit work together to preserve the author's unique voice, word choice, tone, and emphasis.
We accept the historical canon of Scripture, the Old and the New Testaments. Jesus accepted the legitimacy of the Old Testament (Luke 24:27), and Peter referred to the writings of the apostle Paul as “scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). For a work to be considered in the canon of the New Testament, it must have apostolic origin; that is, it must be written either by an apostle (Peter, Paul, Matthew, John) or by someone connected with an apostle (Luke, Mark, James). Thus we reject the “Gospels” of Thomas, Judas, Mary Magdalene, etc., because these were written hundreds of years later, and not written by the person whose name appears on the document.
4. We Believe that everyone who chooses to believe & confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their life are saved.
Scripture teaches that salvation anyone who has faith – which is to say, they believe with their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:4-9, Acts 16:31) receives salvation as God's free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:5, 2:8-9, Romans 11:6, Ephesians 1:7, Titus 2:11, 3:7). Salvation is by grace alone, and not the result of any good works (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:6); good works are the inevitable product of true salvation, not its cause (see Core Belief 5 and 6). Salvation must be the product of grace and not works, because if salvation is from grace then God gets all the credit, but if humans could earn or maintain their salvation by good works, then they would essentially save themselves and earn the right to boast (Romans 4:1-3).
5. We Believe that repentance leads to the acceptance of forgiveness, and in appreciation for His forgiveness a compellation to serve God’s kingdom should be evident.
Forgiveness of our sins is rooted in God's own faithfulness, not whether we deserve forgiveness, and if we repent and confess our sins to him, his faithfulness grants us forgiveness every time (1 John 1:8-9). Forgiveness means that we have a completely clean slate before God: “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Furthermore, accepting Christ results not just in God removing our guilt from us, but in giving us credit for the perfect sinless life that Jesus lived: “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in him we have become the righteousness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). All of our sin and guilt is removed from us and nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14) and we are made holy (1 Peter 2:9). Immediately upon salvation, God sends his Holy Spirit to live inside us, helping us to feel God's love and presence (Romans 5:5), guaranteeing our salvation so that we cannot lose it (Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 5:5), and serving as the promise of the eternal life that we will inherit (Romans 8:11).
Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28), so anyone who claims him as master must follow his example. Scripture commands us both to serve God (Romans 12:11) and to serve each other (Galatians 5:13). Scripture also teaches that every believer receives spiritual gifts from God (1 Corinthians 12:7) for the purpose of serving the body of Christ, which is the church, and the kingdom of God.. Thus, in someone who has been saved and who has the Holy Spirit living inside them, we would expect to see a growing desire to live for God and to serve the kingdom and the body.
6. We Believe that TRUE salvation leads to REAL change including deliverance, healing, and continual transformation leading to a perseverant and obedient following of Jesus Christ.
One thing we can safely say is that no one in the Bible encountered Jesus and remained the same. Some people received physical healing (Matthew 9:6-7, Luke 7:21), while others received spiritual healing (John 4:1-30). Paul says that we have been set free from sin (Romans 6:7, 12-14), indicating that God will deliver us from addictions and sinful habits. Furthermore, our faith is a continual effort of growth, beginning with faith and culminating with love (2 Peter 1:5-7), a process called sanctification whereby we become more like Christ. Ultimately, God's vision for us is that we be perfectly conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), which will only be completed in eternity, but our goal is to get as close as we can during this lifetime.
7. We Believe that in the perseverance of the saints, believers participate daily in the study of God’s word, prayer, fellowship, and worship as a lifestyle of discipleship.
The term “spiritual disciplines” refers to the things that believers do to maintain their end of their relationship with God: things such as prayer, studying the Bible, spending time with fellow believers, and the like. Scripture instructs us repeatedly to pray constantly (Romans 12:12, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to associate with and encourage other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25, Galatians 6:2, Acts 2:42-47). Although Scripture does not command us to read the Word every day, this is reasonable when we consider that most people were illiterate and that Bibles were not readily available until the invention of the printing press around the year 1500 – which is part of the reason that believers were commanded to gather together amongst themselves, for the purpose of publicly reading Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13). Since we have access to the Bible in our own language, God;s expectation on us is to live in light of that and to make use of the resources we have; he holds us to a higher standard because, unlike other people, we have no excuse for not knowing his word (Luke 12:48).