What We Beleive
Our system of doctrine is the Reformed faith, also called Calvinism (because Calvin was the most important exponent of it during the Reformation). It pulls together the most significant doctrines taught in the Bible. These doctrines are set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms (with accompanying biblical references).
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We embrace Biblical and Historic Christianity as expressed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and as summarized in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds. Additionally, we affirm the five tenets of the Protestant Reformation: Scripture alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and to God alone be the glory.
The New City Catechism is an excellent, free online tool that expresses our core beliefs. NCC is in Q&A format and includes readings from historic Christianity, as well as short teaching on video from several excellent teachers such as Timothy Keller, DA Carson, Stephen Um, and others.
Following is a summary of our view of the essentials of Historic Christianity:
The Bible is the inspired word of God. It is without error in its original manuscripts, and contains everything we need to know about having a right relationship with God and our fellow human beings. The Bible is the basis for all of our essential beliefs (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. He is alive and active. He indwells followers of Christ, working in unison with the Word of God to guide them in all truth. He is the power that enables Christians to live as new creations in Christ and empowers believers for service (John 16:7-14; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 6:17).
People are created by God and in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). On this basis, all people must be treated with dignity, honor, love and respect (James 3:9-10). At the same time, in their quest for independence and the centrality of self, all people begin their lives alienated from God, and in this condition are without hope and under judgment, a condition that can only be cured through God’s loving, gracious, and saving intervention (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1). As the image of God, we are most alive when our trust, affections and allegiances center on Him.
Restoration between God and people (also called ‘salvation’) happens when the Holy Spirit gives people a new heart, leading and enabling them to trust in Jesus alone for salvation (John 1:12-13). Because God loves His creation, He will also restore the entire universe to a condition of beauty, rest, joy, perfection, and freedom (Romans 8:18-30). God’s world, which began as a promising Garden (Genesis 1:27-31), will find its fulfillment in a perfected, life-giving City in which there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:1-8).
Good works do not and cannot make us acceptable to God (Ephesians 2:8-9), but are the natural outcome of authentic faith in Jesus (James 2:17). We become more fully human—the very best and most healthy version of ourselves—to the degree that we follow God’s loving commands. His commands, properly understood, are neither limiting nor oppressive but life-giving. Obedience to God’s commands is an essential prerequisite for true human flourishing.
The Church is the family of God and consists of those who place their functional trust (faith) in Jesus. God wants all members of His worldwide Church, together with their children, to be active in a local church which meets regularly to worship God, serve each other, and be a life-giving presence in their local community and world (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:24-25).