Rupertus Meldenius, seventeenth-century Lutheran theologian, wrote, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” There will always be peripheral doctrines upon which Biblically rooted and committed Christ followers disagree, and we welcome dialogue on many issues related to Christian doctrine. However, we recognize the importance of having a framework around which we grow in maturity and relate to one another as a 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 exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is infinite, which does not always make sense to our finite understanding. He is not limited by time or space. He is creator, eternal, all-knowing, ever-present, and all-powerful. His character is multi-dimensional but no facet of His character diminishes another. In other words, His grace and wrath, mercy and justice, love and jealousy all work together for good.
Jesus is the eternal Son of God. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, worked miracles and gave us an example to follow. Fully God and fully man, He died on a cross to pay the penalty for sin that separated us from God and rose from the dead to reconcile us to our Creator and to free us to have a new life in Him. Now, He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us.
The Holy Spirit is given to every follower of Christ to guide, comfort, convict, and adopt us into the family of God. He helps us grow into Christ-likeness by producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, and He gives us spiritual gifts to empower us to meet the needs of God’s people and a hurting world.
Comprised of 66 books authored over thousands of years by dozens of authors, the Bible tells one seamless story: a passionate God on a relentless pursuit to redeem His 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.
We were created in the image of God to have community with Him and represent Him on earth. However, through a willful act of disobedience, we were separated from Him. The Father sent Jesus to redeem us through an act of atonement which culminated with Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. This gave us the opportunity to trade our sin for His righteousness through faith. Jesus’ sacrifice is the only means for our salvation and reconciliation with the Father.
The Church is the Body of Christ and Jesus is the head of the Body. The Church is not a building or an event but the community of individuals who have put their trust in Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Church is to glorify God, make disciples, make Jesus known to a lost world, and meet the needs of those in our communities and around the world. We celebrate baptism as a first step of obedience for new followers of Christ, in which they identify with Christ’s death and resurrection and make a public declaration of their faith. We also celebrate communion as an ongoing remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.
When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, it ignites a spiritual chain reaction and produces evidence of our salvation. We are forgiven of sin, declared right before God, and given eternal life with Him. The Holy Spirit is given to assure us of our salvation, adopt us into God’s family, and to live in us and empower us for a life of following Jesus. This results in the fruits of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
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.