Essentials of the Christian Faith"Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!" (Revelation 19.1) "In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (I Peter 1.3)
Joyfully and humbly, as undeserving recipients of the gracious work of God through Jesus Christ, we confess these essentials of our shared faith:
- God is majestic, compassionate, and lovingly desires to be known. Therefore, we worship Him. God is revealed generally through creation, specifically through the Holy Scriptures, and finally in the living Word who became flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.
- The Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The Holy Spirit spoke through its authors and witnesses to us today that it is indeed and in truth the very Word of God, God's gift to the world and guide for His people.
- In the beginning, the sovereign God created all things good. Humanity, bearing God's likeness, crowns creation. Through the disobedience of those made in the image of God, the whole of creation fell into the darkness of sin and rebellion. In love, God initiated the plan of redemption, which stands upon the historic events of the crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus the Messiah. God's gracious redemptive work results in the Church and culminates in the new creation.
- The LORD our God, the LORD is one. The one true God exists in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that each Person of the Trinity is engaged in all that God has done, does now, and will yet do. The LORD our God is the One who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
- We believe in God the Father, who created all things in, through, and for His Son. The Father adopts as children all who are drawn by the Holy Spirit to believe in His Son, giving to them all the riches of God's glorious Kingdom. The loving heart of our Father is poured out in eternal redemption through Jesus Christ, and in the ongoing discipline that shapes God's children into the image of Christ.
- Jesus Christ is the living Word, the promised Messiah, and eternal Son of the Father, sent in mission to the earth. Incarnated in the womb of the virgin Mary, He is fully God and fully human, come to reconcile God and humanity. During His earthly ministry Jesus lived a sinless life, healed the sick, raised the dead, drove out demons, befriended sinners, preached the gospel to the poor, and died as our substitute on the cross. He rose bodily from the dead, ascended to the Father, and remains our faithful Mediator and High Priest. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by faith in Him. He is the only Head of the Church, our Lord and Savior.
- The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Jesus Christ and to apply His saving work to our lives. By the Spirit, the redeemed cry "Abba" as God's adopted children. The Spirit awakens from spiritual death those whom God has chosen, convicting them of sin, comforting their hearts with the hope of the Gospel, uniting them to Christ, making Christ real to them, gathering them into a people of His own possession, and sealing their salvation. Indwelling their hearts, the Spirit sanctifies them for lives of holiness and empowers them for ministry in the Church and mission to the world.
- From the beginning God has sovereignly elected and called a people, who are the true Church, the Body of Christ. The Church is the fruit of God's redemptive work, a covenanted community of worship, prayer, and service, called to love God and neighbor and to live out the ethical and moral imperatives revealed in Holy Scripture. All believers are baptized in one Spirit into this Body, which finds expression in local congregations. In these believing communities, the loving presence of God is embodied, the Gospel is preached in truth, the sacraments are rightly administered, compassionate and godly discipline is exercised, and Kingdom mission is faithfully carried out. The Church is a connectional and confessional community in which theological, ethical, and moral accountability is demonstrated.
- The Church is called to make disciples of all nations, proclaiming the Gospel to the spiritually lost and equipping believers so that they may be presented mature in Christ. The Lord calls all believers to be ministers and witnesses to God's amazing grace and readily to participate in the task of making disciples, for which God gives the Church powers, gifts, and talents. It is the responsibility of the Church and its leaders to develop, equip, and release people into their God-given ministries in the Church and the world.
- Finally, in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ will leave the Father's side to return to earth in glory to fulfill God's promised purposes. All believers look forward to this Day when our lowly bodies will be transformed to be like Christ's glorious body and the Church, the bride, will be presented to her bridegroom. For Christ will liberate creation from its bondage to corruption, judge the living and the dead, usher in a new heaven and earth, and establish God's everlasting Kingdom. "Even so, come Lord Jesus!" "Amen, Hallelujah!"