|What I Believe|
In essential beliefs, we have unity: (Ephesians 4:4-6)
In non-essential beliefs, we have liberty: (Romans 14:1,4,12,22)
In all beliefs, we have charity: (1 Corinthians 13:2)
We believe the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, and the supreme and final authority in doctrine and practice.
We believe in only one living and true God, eternally existing in three equal persons – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe God the Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of human history according to His purpose and grace. All glory goes to Him. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal, pre-existent Son of God, who for us and for our salvation became a man, died on a cross, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven to reign. We believe that God, the Holy Spirit, restrains evil, convicts of sin. He also regenerates, and indwells and empowers believers for service, and bestows spiritual gifts, sealing them for eternity.
Creation and the Fall
We believe that all things in heaven and on earth were created by God and exist by His power and for His glory. We believe that humanity was created innocent and in the image of God, but that we sinned, bringing both physical and spiritual death to ourselves and this world.
We believe that every person is lost in sin apart from Christ and in need of a Savior. We believe that salvation is a gift of God and is received by man only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The full scope of salvation includes Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification.
We believe that the universal church, the Body and Bride of Christ, is made up of all true believers. We believe that the local, visible church is an assembly of professing believers in Jesus Christ who are voluntarily joined together in one body to worship, reach out and grow. We believe that Christ instituted the ordinances of believer baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which are to be observed by believers until He returns. Grace is an elder-led church.
Things to Come
We believe the Lord Jesus will one day return physically to earth in power and glory to complete what He began: graciously saving believers and bringing righteous judgment on non-believers. Our call is to make ourselves ready for that day!
What do you mean by “in the non-essentials, liberty”?
I don’t believe we have to have everything in common to grow together, serve together, and work together for God’s glory. I have a tiered approach to doctrinal issues. I have more about this approach on IG (see my Theology Thursday series). This basically means I differentiate between first and second-tier matters of dogma (like the Trinity, exclusivity of Christ, the Scriptures, the Gospel etc.) from third-tier matters of conviction (like women in ministry, spiritual gifts, etc). I believe that we must have first and second-tier matters in common and seek solid unity in these areas; in third-tier matters there’s liberty for us to disagree with grace. This doesn’t mean I believe these matters are less important, but that I believe (as do scholars) that they are less clear in Scripture.
Are you reformed?
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this question … I’d have, like, a lot of nickels.
Everyone means something a little bit different by this question (technically, by the word “reformed”) so I’m always hesitant to answer right away. If we were sitting down together I’d ask you one thousand questions about what you mean by “reformed” before answering. But since I can’t do that, I’ll do this instead.
If you’re asking if I’m a part of a reformed denomination: no. We’re non-denominational and we practice believers’ baptism.
If you’re asking if I believe in the security of salvation: yes. I believe in the perseverance of the saints.
If you’re asking if I’m protestant (IE: a product of the Reformation): yes. (Though I’d also want to ask you which reformation and which year you were talking about. Luther wasn’t the only Reformer, y’all!)
So, to put it simply: I’m not denominationally reformed but I am soteriologically reformed. Does that help?
Are you same-sex affirming?
I affirm the image of God in all peoples, regardless of sexual attraction. I believe God’s best for all humanity is for sexual intimacy to be experienced by one man and one woman in the holy bond of marriage. Sexual practice outside of this is not only unpleasing to God but to our own detriment.