What We Believe
Essentials (doctrines that unite us)
Bible. When God revealed Himself in history, those encounters and events were recorded in the Bible. It's often called God's Word, because it was inspired by God through human authors. The Bible is true (though people's interpretations of it may not be); it is the supreme authority for our lives.
God the Father. God exists in three persons of one essence. God the Father is in authority over the Son and Spirit. He is sovereign and orchestrates the unfolding of human history. He is holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable (unchanging), immanent (involved in creation), transcendent (not a part of creation), righteous, true, wise, loving, and perfect. The other two members of the Trinity share these natural and moral attributes.
Jesus. The second Person of the Trinity is God the Son. He existed in eternity with the Father and was responsible for the act of creation. He came to earth over 2000 years ago as a man to save humanity from its sins. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed countless miracles, and ministered to thousands as a teacher and healer. He was murdered by evil men. His death serves as the one true sacrifice for sin. He was resurrected three days later (as He predicted), appeared to many people, then ascended into heaven. Though He came the first time as a sacrificial lamb, He will return as the Lion to put down evil and reign as King.
Holy Spirit. The third person of the trinity is the Helper who empowers God's people. His presence has signified God's favor and power in both OT and NT times, as well as today. He is the "behind the scenes" member of the Godhead whose purpose is to glorify the Son (which is why we don't overemphasize or worship Him directly, as some churches do).
People. Mankind was created in image of God to rule the earth and enjoy fellowship with Him. Adam's and Eve's fall into sin brought death and disease into the world. Ever since, people are born with an evil human nature (depravity) that stains their thoughts, deeds, and motives with selfishness. It is only by being born again (salvation) that people receive the Holy Spirit and gifts that enable them to live a life of selflessness and service, to help others into the kingdom of heaven.
Salvation. Because mankind is stained by a sinful nature, even our best deeds are tainted with selfishness. According to the Bible, sinful people are unfit for eternal fellowship with God. That's why Jesus came. He undeservedly died a criminal's death and took upon Himself the condemnation we deserve. He now offers people an escape from this eternal judgment. Such salvation cannot be bought, earned, or deserved by any good works of man; it is only exists by God's benevolent grace. It is entered into through faith - belief and trust in Christ alone to save you. Entering into this relationship isn't a momentary decision, but a lifetime relationship. According to Scripture, few people accept Jesus; most reject Him.
The End. After death, two fates await people - fellowship with God in heaven or suffering in the hell created for Satan and his demons. It is one's relationship with Jesus in life that determines their final destination. Demonic forces currently wage spiritual and physical war on humanity, destroying as many people as possible. This will continue, escalating into increased chaos until Jesus returns - this time as the Warrior Judge to bring order to earth. Satan will be bound for a time, then make his final stand. Ultimately, the Lord wins and recreates the heavens and earth to rule in harmony and peace.
Non-Essentials (room to breathe)
When Jesus returns. Whether you're pre-, mid-, or post- trib is still to be revealed. As Jesus Himself said, "No one knows the day or hour ..." (Matt. 24:36). Each of us has our own views and biblical reasons for holding them, but Scriptural evidence for some views aren't as open/shut as some would believe. Jesus is indeed coming back, but the timing of that event isn't worth infighting.
Spiritual gifts. Scripture isn't dogmatic about when tongues, prophecy, etc. will end and we aren't either. We're not Pentecostal (See "God the Spirit" above), but we don't condemn the Holy Spirit's work in folks - God gives different spiritual gifts to His children. Exercise of these gifts in the body, however, are subject to the Bible's standards.
How you were baptized. Were most baptisms by immersion in the New Testament? Probably (depending on the time of year/rainfall in Israel). Were only believers baptized, or were children included when a household "came to faith" in Christ? Theological arguments abound. Some denominations require you be re-baptized in their church for it to count. Not us. We have beliefs about baptism and how we do it, but we aren't going to denounce yours. Whenever, however, or whoever baptized you, was and is up to you.
Whatever else isn't in the essentials. We embrace the saying, "In essentials - unity, in non-essentials - liberty, in everything charity [love]." Theological discussion is great, but heated debate ... not so much.