In Essential Beliefs, We Have Unity
“There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all…” Eph 4:4-6. These essential beliefs are ones that we hold in unity as a church, ones upon which we agree, ones which are vital to our faith and practice as Christians.
In Non-Essential Beliefs, We Have Liberty
“Now accept the one who is weak in the faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions…Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls…So then each of us shall give account of himself to God…the faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.” Rom 14:1,4,12,22. Beliefs that are “non-essential” are not unimportant, but those that are not a basis of our fellowship. Liberty then allows for individual differences in convictions that come from the variety of backgrounds and experiences found in any group of Christians.
In All Our Beliefs, We Show Charity
“And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” 1 Cor 13:2. “Charity” or Christ-like love should be the essential and distinguishing characteristic of the exercise of the Christian faith.
Essential Beliefs about God:
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These are co-equal and are one God.
Essential Beliefs about Jesus Christ:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father and the Spirit. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose bodily from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory where He sits at the right hand of God interceding for us and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Essential Beliefs about the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides Christians with power for living, the understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives all believers spiritual gifts when they receive salvation. As Christians we are to live under His control.
Essential Beliefs about the Bible:
The Bible is the infallible Word of God. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the source of truth for Christian beliefs and living because it is inspired by God. It is the truth without any mixture of error. This revelation from God is complete, final, and without error in the original manuscripts.
Essential Beliefs about Human Beings:
All people have been created in the image of God with value and dignity. As a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we are all born with a sinful nature. Furthermore, we all by deliberate choice participate in sin which is rebellion to God’s law. We are in desperate need of God’s grace.
Essential Beliefs about Salvation:
Salvation is God’s free gift to those who will receive it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement, good works, or human effort. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s provision for forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. Jesus is the full and acceptable substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. When we, by God’s grace, turn from our self-ruled life and come to Jesus in faith we receive salvation. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior into his life.
Essential Beliefs about Eternal Security:
Since God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If one has genuinely received salvation then one cannot lose it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.
Essential Beliefs about Eternity (Heaven and Hell):
Humanity was created to exist forever. People will either exist eternally separated from God because of rejection of Jesus Christ or exist eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally joined with Him is Heaven. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.