What do we believe?
In case you missed it earlier :), we believe that salvation from God's eternal punishment for sin (aka Hell) is available exclusively to those who repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their only way of salvation.
For a slightly broader answer to the question of what we believe, we've included this page. To accomplish this, we have attempted to simply quote (or summarize if needed) various Biblically sound statements from believers throughout history. Understanding that no brief collection of statements can cover the breadth of orthodox Christian beliefs, we have attempted here to give a good summary of what is at its core.
To start with, we have included the Apostles' Creed. The core of this creed (the 'Old Roman Symbol') dates to the 2nd Century AD and accurately reflects both the teachings of Scripture and the testimony of the earliest believers:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.1
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic 2 church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
From here, it seems to make sense to expand upon this creed by defining exactly who Jesus Christ is. For this, we can refer to the "Definition of Chalcedon" which dates to a council of the same name in 451 AD:
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
Finally, to help round out our beliefs, it will be very helpful to include the "five solas" of the 16th century Reformation:
- Sola Scriptura: The Bible alone is authoritative in matters of the faith, it is the inspired Word of God and is in itself clear.
- Sola Fide: Justification (being made right before God) comes though faith alone, apart from any and all works performed by man.
- Sola Gratia: Salvation is given by God's grace alone based on the sacrificial work of Christ, it is in every way an undeserved gift.
- Soli Deo Gloria: Glory is to be given to God alone because every aspect of our salvation is accomplished by him.
- Solus Christus: Christ alone is the mediator between man and God and salvation us found through no other.
Initially it was our intent to have a fairly simple page in this place which simply referred to the Apostle's Creed, but we soon realized that was in itself inadequate. While our expanded look at the faith here is more complete I am certain it is still by no means exhaustive. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us.
References and notes
1. For an examination of this point, see: Calvin, John, "Institutes of the Christian Religion" online exerpt
2. The term "catholic" simply means universal and does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church. See: Rand, W.W., "Entry for 'Catholic'", "American Tract Society Bible Dictionary" online source